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HARVARD 
COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 



THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

BY THE MILITARY CORRE- 
SPONDENT OK THE TIMES 




H I M The Emperor Nicholas II. 



THE WAR IN THE 
FAR EAST 

1904-1905 ^ 

BY THE MILITARY CORRE- 
SPONDENT OF THE TIMES 



WITH NUMEROUS MAPS AND PLANS BY PERCY FISHER 



NEW YORK 
E. P. BUTTON AND COMPANY 

1905 



-6^ 



/ ST / ■ J ? 



HARVARD COLLEGE LIDr.ARY 

C4l f^f' ^^ iHliloT GOODF.XM STILLMAM 

1937 



PRINTKD AND BOUND BY 

HA7KLt., WATSON AND VINEY, LO., 

LONDON AND AYLK8BURY, 

XNOLAMD 



vRVARD\ 
VERSITYl 
BRARY I 



DEDICATED 

TO 

HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY 

THK 

EMPEROR OF JAPAN 

TO WHOSE ILLUSTRIOUS VIRTUES 

HIS STATESMEN, SOLDIERS AND SEAMEN 

ASCRIBE THE MERITS 

OF THEIR 
GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS 



PREFACE 

When it was suggested to the writer that he should 
republish the articles contributed to Tlie Tivies during 
the course of the Russo-Japanese War, he had serious 
misgivings whether they were deserving of a longer 
lease of life than that contained within the twenty-four 
hours' span of existence of a daily paper. No one, at 
all events, who is aware of the conditions under which 
articles are customarily written for newspapers, no one 
who recalls the veil of secrecy and mystification held 
between us and the actors in the Far Eastern drama, 
will expect the awe-inspiring title of History to be pre- 
fixed to the following pages. We have too many great 
military historians as our models for any one of us 
to retain illusions concerning the sum of knowledge, 
judgment, and accuracy, not to speak of time, required 
for the proper treatment of the moving story of a great 
campaign. 

But, on reviewing the whole series of articles and 
plans which now accompany them, with such partial 
impartiality as an author is capable of exercising 
towards his own handiwork, the writer thought, after 
eliminating a great deal no longer germane to the story, 
that he might be justilied in offering the residue to the 
pubhc as a preliminary study of the campaign, despite 
faults of which he is only too sensible. It was clear 

vii 



viii PREFACE 

that the campaign itself was of surpassing and, perhaps, 
lasting interest to the British people; and experience 
had shown us that official and wholly satisfactory 
accounts of a great war often found us old men before 
they saw the light, and that, when they did, other 
events had occurred, and interest had been diverted to 
some other stage and other players. 

The writer also thought that an account of the cam- 
paign, written, as these pages have been written, from day 
to day, and thus preserving contemporary colour, warmth, 
and even partisanship, might serve as a useful reminder 
that those who direct armies and fleets have to deal 
with a number of factors of which histoiy sometimes 
takes insufficient account, and that, in relation to the 
intentions and proceedings of the enemy, these leaders 
have largely to rely upon intuition and judgment, and 
have rarely before them all those nicely tabulated facts 
and certainties which are at the disposal of the ultimate 
historian when the latter distributes praise and blame. 
These pages, therefore, the writer hopes, may enable 
the reader to picture himself more nearly in the position 
of the leader in the field, than he can contrive to do 
when studying an historian, who surprises the secrets of 
the future by writing after it has passed, and knows 
beforehand the direction in which he is going and the 
catastrophe of the tale. By recognition, in this manner, 
of the dense fog which suiTounds all war before the air 
is cleared by some terrific encounter, the public may 
be encouraged to realise the gravity of the problems 
confronting the higher command, and to extend to 
those who have, hereafter, to direct our armies and 
fleets in war, a large share of that inflexible confidence, 
loyalty, and sympathy which are such an inestimable 



PREFACE ix 

support in the day of trial to a leader of men when 
hard beset. 

So far as circumstances and early publication permit, 
these articles have been revised, and such new matter 
has been introduced as we have hitherto been favoured 
with by the respective combatants. The chapters 
dealing with the battles of Liauyang and Mukden have 
been completely re-wTitten, and free use has been made 
of articles contributed to The Times by correspondents 
in various parts of the world, notably those by the 
representative of this journal in Tokio, whose long 
experience of Japan has been of such profit to readers 
of The Times throughout the course of the war. 

Most of these articles have been translated into 
Japanese by Mr. Mori and re-published in book form 
by the leading Japanese paper, the Jiji-Sliimpo. The 
much too favourable reception they met with on the 
part of eminent officers of the Japanese Army and 
Navy has not been without influence in causing the 
publication of this book. The writer was fortunate 
in securing the services of Mr. Percy Fisher for the 
preparation of the maps and plans to accompany the 
text. The work they have entailed, owing to our 
scanty knowledge of the topography of the theatre 
of war, will appeal to all cartographers. Mr. Fisher 
returned from Japan last year, and has been engaged 
for many months upon the compilation of these plans 
from all available sources, and the writer hopes and 
believes that the result of these labours may be of 
serious service to those who have hitherto been 
without proper means for forming a balanced and 
impartial judgment upon the strateijy and tactics of 
the campaign. 



X PREFACE 

Every one whose duty it was to comment on these 
great events in the British press was bound, from first 
to last, to keep before his eyes the terms of the 
Anglo- Japanese Alliance of 1902, and to write nothing 
which might directly or indirectly serve the cause of 
Russia or injure that of Japan, This circumstance 
has necessarily influenced and coloured many of the 
comments made upon the operations, and especially 
upon the leading figures who took part in them ; but 
if we could not back our friends when they were in 
diflSculties, the value of friendship would become 
problematical. History will judge all these matters 
by a more impartial and impassive tribunal than any 
we can hope to establish while the clash of arms still 
resounds in our ears. 

The writers cordial thanks are due to 2' he Tivies 
for the permission given to publish these articles, and 
to many members of the staff for invaluable assistance 
rendered during the course of the war ; to Mr. L. J. 
Maxse, for his authorisation to introduce a long extract 
from the National Review ; to Mr. Clement Shorter, 
of Tlie SpJtere^ for his permission to make use of the 
portraits included in the book ; and, lastly, to Mr. John 
Murray and his assistants for the despatch with which 
this volume has been produced. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PACK 

PREPACK vii 

INTRODUCTION 1 

CHAFFER I 
Tre Outixjok for Japan 15 

CHAPTER II 
The Outlook foe Rissia ...••.. 25 

CHAFFER III 
Russian Troops, Rkikforcements, and Communications . 34 

CHAPTER IV 
The Pacific Squadron Leaves Port .... 42 

CHAPTER V 
The Surprise at Port Arthur 49 

CHAPTER VI 
The Lesson of Port Arthur 58 

CHAFFER VII 
1812? 63 

CHAFFER VIII 
Prei.iminarv Operations February 15— March 7, 1904 . 73 

CHAFFER IX 
Russian Idkas on Things Japan i«>:e ..... 87 

CHAPTER X 
Japan's S^iiiATKiiicAi. Problem .,,,., 9Ji 



xii TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAITER XI 
The Chinese Factor 100 

CHAPTER XII 
Amphibious Power 106 

CHAPTER XIII 
The Cossacks ......... 112 

CHAPTER XIV 
The Entanglement of Port Arthur .... 117 

CHAPTER XV 

The Situation in April, 1904 . . ^ . . .122 

CHAPTER XVI 
The Baitle of the Yalu 151 

CHAPTER XVII 
The Landing of the Second Army 161 

CHAPTER XVIII 
The Army of Manchuria 172 

CHAPTER XIX 
The Situation towards the End of May, 1904 . . 183 

CHAPTER XX 
The Baitle of Kinchou . . . . . . .196 

CHAPTER XXI 
The Tribulations of a General . . . . .213 

CHAPTER XXII 
Japan's Debt to Meckel ...... 223 

CHAPTER XXIII 
Cokcerninc; First-Class Impregnable Foktrf.ssf.s . . 232 

CHAITER XXIV 
The Russian Counter-Offensive, June 14-23, 1904 . 239 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PHOTOGRAVURES 

PACK 

H.I.M. The Emperor Nicholah II. ok Russia . Frontispiece 

H.I.M. The Emperor op Japan Facing 32 

Field-Marshal Marquis Iwao Oyama .... ,, 46 

Admiral Makarofp 1 

\ „ 86 

Vicit- Admiral Hikonoio KamimuraJ 

General Kuropatkin „ 166 

Admiral Alkxciefp „ 216 

AnuiKAi. Hkihacriro Togo ...... ,, 286 

Admiral Rozhhestve.v.^ky \ 

„ .. ,,360 

Princk Khilkokp J 

General Li.s'ievitch 1 

\ ,,532 

Ge.nicral Baron Kitkn Nugi J 

MAPS 

Port Arthur and Surrounding Country ... ,, 48 

The Town and Fortress of Port Arthur • . >> 56 

The Battle op the Yalu. let Phase) 

"... ,,160 

Thk Battle of Kincbou. 1st Phase) 

I . . . „ 208 

», ,, »» >> —iici ,j J 

Tuki BATfi.E OP Tblissu. 1^1 Phase) 

.... ,240 

,» t» >, . 19 -11(1 ,, J 

TiiL Hattle op Fbnsbuiling. l?it Phase) 

[ . . . ,,266 

,, », ,» J, -UU ,, J 



XVI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Gkneral Count Kkllkr's Attack \ 

ON MoTiENLi NO Ist Phase y 

** » ff 99 2nd „ ) 



The Battle op Tomucheno 



The Battle op Ta8hihchiao. Ist Phase ^ 

99 99 » >* 2nd ,, j 

The Russian Retreat during the Operations preceding the 
Occupation op Haichkno and Niuchwang . 

The Battle op Yanotzuling 

and Yushulintz. 1st Phase 

99 99 99 99 ZlXQ. ,, 

The Naval Fight op August 10 



The Battle op Liauyang. 



1st Phase 

2nd „ 



99 99 99 99 OVd ,, 

4th 

99 99 99 >9 ^*-** Jf 

99 99 99 99 ^tll „ 

99 99 99 99 *^tn ,, 

>> 99 99 99 ttn „ 

99 99 99 99 "^" >> 

99 >> 99 >> "^" 99 

99 99 9* >> lUtn ff 

The Battle of The Shaho. Ist Phase 

ff if ft >> >> ^11(1 if 

ft yy >> 99 99 "''" 99 

9f >» 99 9* 99 '**" >> 

The Battle of Mkikautai. Ist Phase 

*>nd 

,, »> yy ^> 3rd 

ml'khkn and ttik surrounding district . 
Thk Hatti.k of Tsushima . . . . 



;:) 



Facing 268 

270 
272 

272 
272 
288 

d04 



320 



400 



4U0 
."/J2 



THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST 



INTRODUCTION^ 

No great campaign fought out within the memory of 
this generation offers such a vast and fruitful field for 
study by men of the British race as the Russo-Japanese 
War of 1904-5. ' 

For the first time for nearly a hundred years we 
have seen an island Empire at grips with a first-rate 
continental Power. For the first time the new 
machinery with which science and modem invention 
have endowed the navies of the world has been put to 
the practical test of serious war. For the first time, 
almost, in the history of the world, we have seen naval 
and military forces, directed by master hands, co-operat- 
ing in close and cordial fashion to impose, by their 
united efforts, the national will upon the enemy. The 
military power of the Island Empire has been revealed. 

Innumerable questions relating to the conduct of 
war by land and sea which have divided opinion in the 
past have received definite answers from a tribunal to 
which all must incline — the bloody assize of war on the 
grandest scale. Even if there were no more lessons to 
be learnt, no more circumstances to be pondered, than 
those arising from the mere clash of arms on sea or 
land, the war would far exceed for us in didactic interest 

^ Reprinted from the Supplement to the National Review for September^ 
1904, by perminion of the ficutor, Mr. L. J. Maxae. 

1 



2 INTRODUCTION 

all those contests between continental armies which 
have taken place since the close of our great struggle 
with Napoleon. 

But the purely military interest of this war on its 
technical side, important as it is, is not the greatest and 
most absorbing of the questions that arise in connection 
with it. The combatants themselves have become 
woven into the history of modern Britain in a peculiarly 
close and inextricable fashion. Russia for the last fifty 
years has been the terror of our statesmen and the 
nightmare of India. She has imposed upon us, as she 
has imposed upon Europe, by the menace of her weight. 
Her steady, stealthy advance across the wide continent 
of Asia has resembled the onward march of destiny, 
while the numbers of her population and the size and 
general inaccessibility of her territory to the blows of 
an enemy have impressed the imagination and dominated 
the intelligence of rulers and people of other lands. 
May we not say that our anxieties have been due, more 
than to any other cause, to our conscious knowledge 
that we have never been able to graft upon the stem of 
our vast and world-embracing Empire an intelligent 
system of Imperial defence, calculated to ensure the 
security of our dominions against all attack ? 

In any review of the history of our relations with 
the Russian Empire during the last sixty years one fact 
stands out in particular prominence. Not a single Tsar 
or statesman of Russia since the death of Nicholas I. 
has succeeded in grasping the elementary fact that 
England and Russia have need of each other in order 
to allow the full and peaceful development of their 
respective people and subject races. The whole course 
of Russian diplomacy within the memory of living man 
has been either openly or covertly hostile to our interests. 
If Russia still has friends in England — and her people 
have many — they promise to become a diminishing 
residuum unless the methods of Russian policy greatly 
change, for Russian diplomacy is calculated to tire out 
the patience of its best friends, amongst whom all 



ANGLO-JAPANESE AGREEMENT 3 

Englishmen might be reckoned if Russia were wisely 
ruled. 

This fixed point of Russian antagonism to England, 
founded though it be on a misconception, due to the 
absence of all serious knowledge of statecraft among 
Russian rulers of modem times, and fostered though 
it has been by a long course of follies committed 
by statesmen of both countries, has been the prime 
determining cause of all, or nearly all, the present 
disasters of Russia. It is the price she has to pay for 
the misdirection of her foreign policy for over sixty 
years. 

The firmest bond that unites England and Japan is 
mutual distrust of and antagonism to Russian policy — 
not the Russian people, that patient, silent mass of 
inarticulate humanity which arouses our constant 
sympathy. The agreement between England and 
Japan signed on January 80, 1902, which synthetised 
the whole situation, was a document which could not 
fiiil to remain before the eyes of every statesman and 
every publicist in this country so long as the war lasted. 
It has necessarily influenced and coloured all con- 
temporary criticism upon even military events, and due 
account must be taken of the fact. At any hour of 
any day while the war continued, we might have 
become automatically involved in the struggle by 
reason of the participation of a third Power in the 
hostilities, a circumstance which was beyond our control 
to foresee or prevent. The preamble of this agreement 
affirmed that England and Japan were solely actuated 
by a desire to maintain the statiLs quo and general peace 
in the Extreme East, and that we were both specially 
interested in maintaining the independence and territorial 
int^rity of the empires of China and Korea, and in 
securing equal opportunities in these countries for the 
commerce and industry of all nations. We mutually 
reco^fnised that it would be admissible for the contracting 
parties to take such measures as might be indispensable 
m order to safeguard these interests if they were 



4 INTRODUCTION 

threatened by the aggressive action of any other Power, 
or by disturbances in China or Korea. If one of the 
contracting parties became involved in war in the 
defence of these interests, the other agreed to maintain 
a strict neutrality and to endeavour to prevent any 
other Power from joining in hostilities against its ally. 
Should, however, a third Power join in such hostilities, 
then the other contracting party was bound to come to 
the assistance of its ally, to conduct the war in common, 
and only to make peace by mutual agreement. This 
bond held good for five years from the date of signature, 
but, if either ally was engaged in war at such time, the 
alliance continued until peace was concluded. 

Thus on the one side in the war we had a Power 
whose entire policy through a long series of years had 
been justly calculated to arouse the hostility of Eng- 
land, and on the other a young nation with whom we 
had contracted a fast alliance of the most binding and 
comprehensive character, so far as the affairs of the 
Far East were concerned. The terms of this treaty are 
recalled because the Anglo-Japanese agreement, from 
one end of the war to the other, remamed the funda- 
mental and dominating factor in the whole political and 
military situation ; and we were absolutely bound, no 
matter what government might have been in office, to 
support the cause for which Japan had taken up arms. 

Although America had not joined in this written 
bond, it is public knowledge that she was at one with 
England and Japan in the policy clearly enunciated by 
the agreement. England, America, and Japan stand 
for the open door and equal rights for the commerce of 
all nations in the Far East. As America was the first 
to arouse Japan from her long sleep and to lead her 
along the paths she has since trodden with such giant 
strides, so in every other country that borders the 
Pacific coast Americans display, and must continue 
increasingly to display, a lively and practical interest. 
The grand lines of American trade to-day run east and 
west rather than north and south, and America, even 



CAUSES OF THE WAR 5 

less than ourselves, can afford to see the almost illimit- 
able markets of China closed by falling under the 
influence of a group of Powers who desire to monopolise 
great areas of Chinese territory for their own exclusive 
benefit On all counts, therefore, England and America 
were more deeply interested in this great quarrel than 
in any other campaign that had been fought by foreign 
nations within the memory of living man. 

Although the negotiations between Russia and 
Japan which led up to the rupture of February last 
only began in July of the preceding year, we have to 
look much further back for the causes which tended to 
make the present war inevitable. 

Without going deeply into the past, it is sufficient 
to recall that important landmark in the history of 
the Far East — the intervention of Russia, France, and 
Germany in 1894, which deprived Japan of the greater 
part of the fruits of her victories in the war with China. 
The Powers named intimated to Japan at the close 
of the war, in courteous but decided terms, that her 
presence in the Liautung Peninsula constituted a stand- 
mg menace to the capital of China, and rendered the 
independence of Korea illusory. 

Knowing their victim better, as these Powers do 
now, the effect of this ultimatum upon the proud spirit 
of the Japanese is probably more completely realised 
to-day than was the case at the time. Japan had 
thoughts of resistance even to this overwhelming 
combination arrayed against her. So deep was the 
resentment that a number of young officers at Port 
Arthur actually harboured the insane idea of gathering 
their men together and of marching across country 
upon Vladivostok, living on the country as they passed, 
in order to exact a military vengeance for the insult 
done their flag, or to perish in the attempt. They were 
dissuaded from their mad purpose, and, after much 
searching of heart, the Mikado's Government determined 
to submit to force itiajeure. The Imperial rescript of 
May 10, 1895, bearing the Mikado's sign-manual, and 



8 INTRODUCTION 

were " yellow pagans," " monkeys with brains of birds," 
and were generally assorted with Khivans, Khirkiz, 
Bokhariots, Turcomans, and other tribes of Central 
Asia with whom Russia had come in contact in her 
fcicile progress eastward. To think that Japan was 
a serious foe, or would ever dare to challenge Russia to 
an armed conflict, was the very last idea that ever 
occurred to the vain and haughty rulers of the mighty 
Russian Empire. 

When Japan became strong enough to risk the con- 
sequences of the ultima ratio^ she endeavoured to recall 
Russia to a sense of her responsibilities. 

Let us review, in the briefest outline, the history of 
Russia's proceedings in Manchuria. In the autumn of 
1860 the allied forces of England and France were in 
occupation of Peking. The Russian Minister at this 
court. General Ignatieff, persuaded the Cliinese that it 
was in his power to procure the speedy evacuation of the 
capital, and as the price of his good offices received the 
Maritime Province of Manchuria with 600 miles of 
coast and the harbour of Vladivostok. The next step 
was taken in 1896, when the Russo-Chinese Bank, an 
agency of the Russian Ministry of Finance, concluded 
an agreement with the Chinese Government for the 
formation of the " Eastern Chinese Railway Company," 
an undertaking with the ostensibly modest object of 
continuing the Trans-Siberian Railway by the shortest 
route through Chinese territory to Vladivostok. The 
scheme, however, soon expanded to much more formid- 
able dimensions, and Russian engineers, with Russian 
troops to protect them, began to overrun Manchuria. 
In 1897 Germany seized Kiaochau as satisfaction for 
outrages committed by Chinese upon German mission- 
aries, and in the same year Russia demanded permission 
to winter her fleet at Port Arthur. In due course the 
ships arrived, and shortly afterwards Russia obtained 
a lease of Port Arthur and Talienwan and authority to 
carry the Manchurian Railway down to Port Arthur. 
Upon our invertebrate action during this critical period 



THE MANCHURIAN CONVENTION 9 

it is perhaps best to draw a veil. Russia had thus 
estabhshed herself in the very position from which she 
had ousted Japan, and though tne Japanese were greatly 
incensed at this trickery they were not yet ready for 
war, and only took a modest share in the controversy 
which ensued. 

By the end of 1898 there was a strong Russian 
garrison at Port Arthur, and the railway was also in 
military occupation. Japan held on her way, and even 
the endeavour of Russia to secure a lease of Masanpo, 
facing the straits of Korea, failed to draw her from her 
wise policy of restraint. 

Tne great reactionary movement in Northern China 
in 1900 added fresh complications to a situation already 
fidl of difficulties. Nevertheless, at the close of the 
operations which they entailed upon the world, Japan 
gradually began to reassert her position both at Pekmg 
and at Seoul, and to place herself in frank opposition to 
the Russian pretence of acting as the protector of China. 
Her diplomatists became more active and their language 
more decided. China gradually began to see that her 
interests and those of Japan were identical. 

The next point of collision between Japan and 
Russia arose fix)m the mining and lumber concessions 
granted by the Korean Government to Russian subjects 
on the Yalu and Tumen Rivers, concessions which became 
of considerable importance owing to the exalted rank 
of the individuals at St. Petersburg financially interested 
in these projects. The Russians occupied Yongampo, 
erected telegraphs, and even began the construction of 
railways and fortifications, causing energetic protest on 
the part of Japan. 

At the end of 1901 the Marquis Ito proceeded upon 
a confidential mission to St Petersburg, and there can 
be no doubt that a serious though unsuccessful effort 
was made at this time by Japan to reconcile the con- 
flicting interests of the two Powers. There followed, 
early in 1902, the Anglo- Japanese agreement, and 
on April 8 the Manchurian Convention, under which 



10 INTRODUCTION 

Russia undertook to evacuate Chinese territory by 
degrees at certain fixed dates. Had Russia carried out 
the tenns of this Convention, her recent humiUations 
would have been avoided. This evacuation received 
indeed a commencement of execution so far as clause 
(a) was concerned — namely, the withdrawal from the 
south-western portion of Mukden province as far as 
the Ijiau River ; but when April 8, 1908, arrived, there 
was no sign whatever that Russia intended to keep 
faith and withdraw, as she had undertaken to do, from 
the remaining portion of Mukden province and from 
Kirin. Despite innumerable excuses and assurances, 
her troops neld their ground. Russia had, in fact, 
deliberately determined to annex Manchuria, or, as the 
Ftedomosti cynically expressed it, " We may make 
political mistakes, but that is no reason why we should 
persist in them." 

The open and visible sign of this change of front 
was the creation of the special Imperial Lieutenancy of 
the Far East by the Tsar's ukase of July 80, 1908. 
To this Vice-Autocracy Admiral Alexeieff was ap- 
pointed, and in his hands was placed the control of 
the diplomatic relations between Russian East Asia and 
neighbouring countries, and the supreme command of 
the naval and military forces. 

Japan had never remained blind to the serious 
detriment caused to her national future by the character 
of the Russian pretensions, but she was slow to convince 
herself of her neighbour's bad faith. She considered 
it indispensable for her welfare and her safety that the 
independence and integrity of Korea should be main- 
tained, and that her paramount interests in the Korean 
peninsula should be safely guarded. She was unable to 
see how this could be done should Manchuria be annexed 
by Russia; and, in view of Russia's pretext for the 
eviction of the Japanese from Liautung in 1895, she 
was bound to conclude that Russia on the borders of 
Korea rendered the independence of the peninsular 
state illusory. Under these circumstances Japan 



RUSSIA'S COUNTERPROPOSALS 11 

communicated to Russia at the end of July, 1903, her 
desire to open negotiations with a view to the fiiendly 
adjustment of their mutual interests in Manchuria and 
Korea, and the Russian Government willingly assented to 
this step. On August 12 the Japanese Government sub- 
mitted a basis of agreement through their representative 
at St Petersburg. These proposes included : 

(1) A mutual agreement to respect the independence 
and territorial integrity of China and Korea. 

(2) A mutual agreement to maintain the principle 
of equality for the commerce of all nations in those two 
countries. 

(8) Reciprocal recognition of Japan's preponderating 
interests in Korea, and of Russia's special interests in 
railway enterprises in Manchuria. 

(4) Recognition by Russia of the exclusive right of 
Japan to give advice and assistance to Korea in the 
interest of good government. 

(5) An engagement on the part of Russia not to 
impede an eventual extension of the Korean Railway 
into Southern Manchuria. 

Owing to various causes the negotiations were sub- 
sequently transferred to Tokio, but it was not until 
October 8 that any serious counter-proposals were 
made by Russia. Even at this stage an agreement 
appeared hopeless. Russia declined to pledge herself 
respecting the sovereignty and integrity of China, or 
the equahty of treatment of the commerce of all nations. 
She requested Japan to declare Manchuria and its 
littoral as outside her sphere of interests, and desired 
to place many restrictions upon Japan's freedom of 
action in Korea. She also suggested the establishment 
of a neutral zone in Korea north of the 89th parallel. 
This reply exposed Russia's hand, and proved tnat she 
had no intention of executing the Manchurian Con- 
vention. It was not possible for Japan to recognise 
Manchuria as being outside her sphere of influence. 
She had great commercial interests tnere, and her future 
largely depended upon their expansion ; the importance 



12 INTRODUCTION 

of Manchuria's relations with Korea also constituted a 

Jolitical interest of the first class. For all these reasons 
apan decided to reject these Russian proposals abso- 
lutely, and, after various discussions in Tokio, presented 
her definite amendments on October 30. The Russian 
Government delayed their reply until December 11, 
when they entirely suppressed the clause relating 
to Manchuria, and made various other suggestions 
which were unacceptable to Japan. This was con- 
trary to the original object for which the negotiations 
had been initiated, and Japan consequently requested 
the Russian Government to reconsider their position. 
The Russian reply to this request was received on 
January 6, 1904, and it suggested the addition of the 
following clause: 

" Recognition by Japan of Manchuria and its littoral 
as being outside her sphere of interests, while Russia, 
within the limits of that province, will not impede 
Japan or other Powers in the enjoyment of rights and 
privileges acquired by them under existing treaties with 
China, exclusive of the establishment of settlements." 

This proposal was made subject to the acceptance by 
Japan of another clause relating to a neutral zone, and 
to the non-employment by Japan of any Korean territory 
for strategic purposes — conditions which Japan had 
already stated that she was unable to accept. No 
mention whatever, in any Russian reply, was made 
of the integrity of China in Manchuria, which was 
the first object Japan desired to secure,* and without 
which all other concessions were vain. Japan therefore 
renewed on January 18 her request to the Russian 
Government to reconsider the question afresh, and 
continually urged that an early reply might be given. 
Nevertheless, the days wore on and no reply came, 
while public opinion in Japan became dangerously 
excited. 

The Russian Government had been contemptuously 
dilatory in replying to the Japanese communications, 
but they liad made use of the delay to hasten warlike 



RUSSIA'S PREPARATIONS 18 

preparations. As the time drew near for the promised 
evacuation of Manchuria, fresh ships were sent out, and 
on the date upon which the evacuation was due to take 
place there were either on the spot or en routCy including 
the Mediterranean division under Admiral Virenius, 
59 ships with 1,850 guns and 18,000 men. The 
reinforcements represented an aggregate increase of 
118,000 tons subsequent to April, 1908, but they 
included Virenius's squadron of 80,740 tons, which was 
surprised by the outbreak of hostilities and compelled 
to put back. 

The Russian army of Manchuria, theoretically 
always at war strength, was also steadily increased 
during the period of negotiations. In June, 1908, two 
infantry brigades of the 10th and 17th Army Corps, 
with six batteries, were despatched, together with some 
horsemen and military trains. By February, 1904, the 
total augmented strength, according to the Japanese 
calculation, was 40,000 men, and plans were in progress 
for the despatch of 200,000 more in case of need. 
Work on the Russian fortresses and upon fortified 
positions at Liauyang and elsewhere proceeded day 
and night, while seven destroyers, sent out to Port 
Arthur by rail in sections, were made ready for sea. 

Towards the end of January troops were despatched 
from Port Arthur to the Yalu, and on February 1 the 
Russian squadron at Port Arthur put to sea at full 
strength. 

Japan had purchased at Genoa two armoured 
cruisers, the Nisshin and Kasuga, and these vessels, 
passing by Virenius's squadron, reached Singapore 
during the first days of February. The evident 
intention of Virenius to proceed east, combined with 
the activity of the Port Arthur squadron, largely 
influenced the decision of Japan to break off negotia- 
tions. On February 8 an important council took 
place at Tokio in the presence of the Mikado. The 
Marquis Ito, the Elder Statesmen, and all the chief 
Ministers were present. The Council lasted for seven 



14 INTRODUCTION 

hours, and it was then decided, in view of all the 
circumstances, to order M. Kurino, the Japanese 
Minister at St. Petersburg, to suspend relations and 
return home. On the 6th the Minister had his final 
audience with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
and communicated the decision of his government 
announcing that Japan would take such independent 
action as she might deem best to defend her established 
rights and legitimate interests. 

To all save the blind diplomatists of Russia that 
meant war. 



CHAPTER I ' 

THE OUTLOOK FOR JAPAN 

In order to define with rigorous exactitude the grand 
lines of national policy in time of war, an observer 
must become thoroughly imbued with the spirit of 
national life by long study and intimate knowledge 
of the country concerned. It is only after a laborious 
apprenticeship that all the ideals, aspirations, tendencies, 
and habits of thought of a foreign people become crys- 
tallised in his mind, all the many notions in solution 
precipitated in the form of convictions, so that he can 
say without a doubt and without hesitation what course 
this or that foreign nation will adopt in certain given 
contingencies. 

War is not an exact science, but an art, and so too 
is the collection, digestion, and reasoned judgment of 
all that medley of fact, fiction, rumour, and insinuation 
by which counsel is darkened in time of war. There 
are, unfortunately, few men in England, save some of 
those who have spent their lives in the British Consular 
Service in Japan and are soaked with the Japanese 
spirit, who are authorised to express a confident opinion 
upon the energy, the tenacity, and the prudence which 
will be displayed by Japan in the epoch-making struggle 
which now appears to be almost inevitable. On that 
subject, therefore, it is advisable not to make a picture 
for ourselves before we are in a better position to fill in 
such outlines as we already possess by the light of 
events impending. 

' Compiled from an article in The TimeM of January 19, 1004. 

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A PREGNANT PRINCIPLE 17 

But so far as regards the military problem which 
confronts the Japanese Staff, we may have less reserve, 
since the principles of strategy are eternal and of uni- 
versal application ; and if we can make a reasoned table 
in our minds of the data which must be now under 
consideration at Tokio and St. Petersburg, we may also 
be able, without trenching on matters which are for the 
moment best left unsaid, to arrive within a measurable 
distance of the conclusions which the advisers of the 
two Powers have placed on record. 

If there is one principle of national strategy more 
pregnant with meaning than another for an insular 
state, it is that which affirms and reiterates the danger 
of the despatch of militaiy forces across waters not 
thoroughly cleared of hostile ships. It is not possible 
to believe that a nation like Japan, with its nascent 
ambitions and striking capacity for almost inquisitorial 
research, has not grasped this root principle of combined 
operations. We may therefore assume that every effort 
will be made by Japan to gain the command of the sea 
before the despatch of her armies to the mainland. It 
is obvious that, until the Russian ships are sunk, cap- 
tured, or shut up in their ports with their wings 
effectually clipped, there can be no security for the sea 
communications of an expeditionary force, and that 
instinctive apprehension of ever-present risk will haunt 
the mind of the Japanese Commander-in-Chief until 
this ghost is finally laid. 

But it takes two to make a quarrel, and no one can 
foretell for certain the attitude of the main Russian 
squadron, for this will remain to the last the well-guarded 
secret of the higher command. It may be that national 
and professional pride, combined with the contempt 
with which the Russians profess to regard that brilliant 
and engaging people whom they are pleased to describe 
as " yellow pagans,'* may cause the Russian ships to 
steam proudly out to sea when the die is cast, and fight 
till they win or sink. Such a bold resolve would at 
least secure them respect. The traditions of the 

2 



\ 
\ 



18 THE OUTLOOK FOR JAPAN 

offensive are so firmly planted in every Russian heart, 
so continually inculcated by every leader of thought, so 
deeply engrained in every text-book, that we are not 
justified in assuming that a young navy with its laurels 
yet to win in the Far East, and with the eyes of the 
world fixed upon it, will repeat the Sevastopol precedent 
in presence of the Japanese fleet. If, therefore, pride 
prevails, the Russian ships will come out and engage 
boldly under the most favourable conditions possible. 
The decision will in this case be at all events drastic, 
sudden, and probably final. The command of the sea 
will be won and lost, so far as the fleets in presence in 
the Pacific are concerned. 

But other views may prevail. There are many 
indications that the Russians are not unmindful of the 
Torrington precedent. It must be remembered that a 
battle fleet is not only a mighty naval weapon, but also a 
great political asset, and cannot easily be replaced under 
a long term of years when once it has been destroyed. 
Its loss, by ill-timed rashness, it may be urged, will 
injuriously affect not only the nation itself, which will be 
the poorer by a fleet and by so much the weaker against 
other rivals for many years to come, but also its allies, 
who will lose part of the security upon which their bond 
was signed and ratified. It is, therefore, far jBx)m im- 
probable that the Russians will endeavour to nurse their 
main squadron at Port Arthur as a " fleet in being," and 
will cast about for other means of waging offensive war. 
To think that a great military nation will simply endure 
war, and not endeavour to wage it with the utmost 
rigour, is to conceive strange ideas which the first shots 
will quickly dispel 

Information received points to the assembly of a 
Russian force at various points of the railway between 
Port Arthur and Liauyang, where it will be favourably 
located, if adequate transport has been provided, to act 
either against China, or Korea, or agamst a Japanese 
expedition directed against Port Arthur. Now, it is 
evident that while Russia plays a waiting game with 



TWO ALTERNATIVES 19 

her fleet, she may still push down to the Yalu or 
beyond it, and, under the pretence of protecting the 
independence of Korea, proceed to take military posses- 
sion of the country, endeavouring at the same time, by 
measures of which the history of Russia affords many 
examples, to scotch the Chinese dragon before it has 
time to raise its head. If Japan allowed this process to 
continue, she would lose the first game of the rubber, 
and in a few weeks' time see Korea m Russian hands 
and China terrified or dragooned into acquiescence in 
anything Russia may be pleased to demand. It is clear, 
therefore, that Japan must in this case take resolute 
action, even though she cannot impose a fleet action 
upon her enemy, and must consequently incur certain 
risks which she would wilUngly avoid. 

From these considerations it results that there are 
two alternatives before the Japanese Staff, one or other 
of which will be adopted according to the proceedings 
of the main Russian squadron. If an old-fashioned 
fight takes place in the open sea and Russia is worsted, 
it is clear tnat there is no object in landing Japanese 
troops on the southern shores of Korea for the mere 
pleasure of marching through a nominally independent 
and not particularly hospitable country some 400 miles 
in length in order to meet the Russians at the other 
end of it. That would be merely a succes (Testime^ and 
only lead to an unnecessary waste of tissue. In this 
event it is nearly certain that the Japanese Staff will 
select some point or points where they can secure a safe 
base to lana their men, horses, guns, and waggons, and 
where they can be certain to throw sufficient men 
ashore to secure a position before it can be attacked 
by the Russians in force. The nearer this point is 
to the Japanese objective — whether a fortress or some 
assembled group of Russian forces, or both — the more 
favourable it will be for the success of the Japanese 
plans. If China is a friendly neutral, it is also evident 
that the choice of a landing at a point where the Japanese 
army can interpose between the Russians and Chinese, 



20 THE OUTLOOK FOR JAPAN 

or reduce the pressure on Peking, will entail many 
advantages. 

But if the Russian fleet refuses action and Russian 
troops and diplomatists begin to dragoon and coerce 
Korea and China, then a more difficult problem arises, 
since the despatch of an expeditionary force to the 
mainland entails the apparent forgetfiilness of a prin- 
ciple which can never be neglected without grave risk — 
no, not even though the culprit be Bonaparte himself. 
But if this second hypothesis accords with facts, Japan 
seems likely to run this risk ; and there is this to be 
urged in extenuation, that nothing is to be gained by 
delay, and that the topography of the theatre of war 
admits of mitigation of the risks by prudent measures. 

Port Arthur is without doubt an attractive bait, and 
the tremendous prize that its capture would offer if the 
Russian squadron were still within the port must cause 
longing eyes to be cast at the harbour in the Yellow 
Sea and the names of Copenhagen and the Helder to 
recur to Japanese students of naval war. But Copen- 
hagen was a surprise, strategically considered, and the 
Helder was only rendered possible by the antecedent 
defeat of the Dutch at Camperdown. It would be 
an inexcusable act to escort a great unwieldy fleet of 
transports into the north of the Yellow Sea with an 
unbeaten Russian fleet lying in wait at Port Arthur, 
and with its torpedo boats lurking in the islands of the 
gulf. It must, therefore, however reluctantly, be ruled 
out until the naval menace is effectually dispelled. 

Japan is therefore bound to restrict herself to 
Korean ports for the landing of the first echelon of her 
armies of invasion, and the southern and western shores 
of the Korean Peninsula offer many harbours suitable 
for the landing of a military force. The roads/ which 
during the former march of the Japanese army through 
Korea proved such a serious cause of delay, are now 
greatly improved, and every inch of the country has 
been mapped and studied with a wealth of detail. 

The Japanese will therefore choose one or more of 



THE KOREAN STRAITS 21 

these ports, land an army, and begin their advance 
towarcls the line of the Yalu. It will be no disad- 
vantage for the Japanese to meet and settle accounts 
with a Russian field army before they have Port Arthur 
on their hands; on the contrary, it will be a distinct 
gain, since in case of success time will be allowed to 
begin the investment without serious interference from 
outside. 

The risk of Russian naval intervention still remains. 
But from Port Arthur to Masanpo is over 500 miles, 
and no Russian squadron can reach the Korean Straits 
without spending at least three nights at sea while 
going and returning. The inferior coal capacity of 
the Russian squadron does not allow it to take many 
liberties, or to embark on far-reaching operations, save 
at economical rates of speed. Japan will meanwhile 
have studded the Korean coast with torpedo-boat 
stations, while watching Russian movements closely, 
and no one can say what may not happen to a battle 
fleet which passes three consecutive nights at sea within 
the radius of activity of these demoralising craft. 

But a sailor of intelligence and resource may render 
his squadron secure by night ; and therefore the inter- 
vention of the Port Arthur ships in the straits must 
be reckoned possible. But these straits are broken by 
the islands of Tsushima, Idzuhara, and Ikishima, all of 
which are in Japanese hands, and the broadest band 
of sea between any two points of land is only twenty- 
five miles. The situation of a hostile squadron in these 
narrow waters will be very precarious. Japan can 
brin^ her whole strength to bear, and will be fighting 
within hail of her own ports, while the indented coasts 
and maze of islands will provide an ideal theatre for 
the action of her splendid flotilla of torpedo boats and 
destroyers. It must also be steadily borne in mind 
that, provided the friendly neutrality of China has been 
secured, the situation of a Japanese army upon the 
nnainland, even with its communications endangered, 
is not so precarious as a superficial study of the strategy 



22 THE OUTLOOK FOR JAPAN 

of the campaign might suggest. We must tlierefore 
consider that, even if the Japanese Staff are deliberating 
whether they may neglect a principle which has such 
a great consensus of experience and authority in its 
favour, there are at least some weighty reasons which 
may be pleaded in justification of incurring so serious 
a risk. 

There are, besides, other factors to be taken into 
account, namely, the Vladivostok cruisers and the 
stream of Russian warships and of steamers filled with 
troops now about to pass from the Mediten-anean into 
Eastern seas. 

The great trade lines between Japan and the outer 
world lead south-west to Singapore, India, and Europe, 
south to Australia, and east to the American continent. 
The usual tracks followed by fiill-powered steam vessels 
can be traced with precision by reference to p. 35 of 
the China Sea Directory, vol. iv. Commerce raiding 
is an engaging trade, and it is no offence to the Russian 
navy to suggest that all ranks may find prize money 
a great attraction, since even more famous navies have 
aforetime fallen victims to its insidious charms. It 
may also have been urged that the destruction of the 
Japanese carrying trade, combined with occasional raids 
upon the coast of Japan, might entail a financial panic 
and even a political upheaval. The number of Russian 
troops now on the high seas might enable combined 
attacks upon the chief centres of Formosa, for example, 
to be carried out with energy and decision. No one 
could say what effect successes of this nature might 
not have upon an impressionable people thus roughly 
aroused fi-om their previous state of fancied security. 
It is possible that Japan has suspicions that some such 
scheme is in the air, since the order of recall sent to 
all Japanese vessels on the high seas, and the with- 
drawal of the great fleet of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha 
from its regular service, give indications that Japan, as 
a precautionary measure, is practically abandoning ocean 
trading for the nonce. We can feel sure that the great 



THE DANGER OF RAIDS 28 

financial loss thereby involved would not be accepted 
without good cause. If, on the other hand, this action 
of Japan partly aids in the accomplishment of a Russian 
object — namely, the disappearance of the Japanese 
merchant flag from the ocean — it also shows that 
Russian cruisers may seek in vain for the enemy's ships 
and find nothing on the waters but vessels making for 
Japan under the flags of neutrals, whose idea of contra- 
band of war may not, and probably will not, accord 
with the Russian views. 

There still will be, however, the danger of raids 
against coast towns and the coastwise trade. Should 
this danger arise, Japan may well recall that we have 
often passed through a similar experience, and that, 
though we have incurred loss, the actual harm done has 
been comparatively slight. The withdrawal from the 
decisive theatre of ships that might have turned defeat 
into victory has often been a fatal blemish in the strategy 
of our enemies. The Japanese public must learn, as we 
have often learnt, to regard occasional raids by hostile 
vessels with comparative indifference, certain that they 
can have no lasting consequences, and are merely 
vexatious incidents inseparable from maritime war. It 
is only when fancied security leads to a surprise, when 
surprise breeds panic, and panic is followed by disunion, 
recrimination, and discontent that the raids of these 
Russian Jean Barts can have any serious influence upon 
national fortunes. 

The foregoing considerations are not put forward as 
a mere endeavour to prophesy before the event ; but if 
it is true that the unexpected often happens in war, it 
should also be added that it always, or chiefly, happens to 
the unprepared. Our object is rather to stir the pulse 
of the British people, and to make them realise the 
engrossing problems which may soon be solved under 
their eyes, and to point out that those solutions must 
contain lessons of surpassing interest and transcendent 
importance to that great maritime association, the 
British Empire. No campaign that has ever been 



24 THE OUTLOOK FOR JAPAN 

waged since the close of the Great War promises such 
intensely dramatic interest for England and her Empire 
as that which appears to be now impending. Apart 
from the political issues involved, which are simply 
incalculable, the whole theory and practice of modern 
naval war will be on its first great trial, and for the first 
time we may be able to assure ourselves, absolutely and 
beyond appeal, whether the millions we have sunk in 
our great Navy have given us the security we have the 
right to expect from our heavy and continuous sacrifices. 



CHAPTER IP 

THE OUTLOOK FOR RUSSIA 

The chief object of the communications fix)m the fa 
Pacific which reach us over Russian wires is rather to 
conceal the truth than to disclose it. That is fair in 
war, and no one can object to it. 

An amusing instance of the irrelevance of Russian 
reports to the facts may be found in the case of the 
Kazan, of the Volunteer Fleet. This ship left Perim 
on January 8, and its arrival at Port Arthur on the 
16th was duly chronicled in all the Press agencies of 
Europe a few days ago. The vmocimum sea-speed of 
the Kazan at a liberal estimate is 18 knots, and from 
Perim to Port Arthur the distance is 6,590 miles. If 
this vessel be granted 300 miles a day and the necessary 
delays for coaling be allowed for, her arrival at Port 
Arthur would be anticipated on January 27 or 28 
at the earliest; but, according to Admiral AlexeiefTs 
news agency, the Kazan must have made the voyage 
at the remarkable speed of 21 knots, without stopping 
to coal. We can sympathise with the Russian admiral's 
natural anxiety when so many of his vessels have crews 
below strength which the Kazan may be expected to 
complete ; but military deception is a fine art, and the 
statement regarding this snip discloses a deplorable 
want of finish in the training of his subordinates in an 
art in which Russia is peculiarly expected to excel. 

Meanwhile the Japanese armoured cruisers Kasuga 
and Nisshin, recently purchased at Genoa, passed out 

> Compiled from articles in The Times of January 23 and 25^ 1904. 

25 



26 THE OUTLOOK FOR RUSSIA 

of the Red Sea on .January 19, showing the Russian 
squadron in the Mediterranean a clean pair of heels. 
They may reach Japan before the middle of February, 
and, as their armament is believed to be on board, they 
should be fit for service as soon as their Japanese crews 
are turned over to them. 

Behind them Admiral Virenius's Mediterranean 
squadron has passed through the Canal and is also 
bound east, the Oslyabya and her consorts having been 
joined at Suez by the Orel and Saratoff, two of the 
fastest steamers of the Volunteer Fleet, capable re- 
spectively of making 19 and 18 5 knots. Though 
the Russians inform the Press agencies that the 
Saratoff is a collier, there seems to be no doubt of the 
identity of this ship. These two steamers are believed 
to have nearly 3,000 troops on board. With this 
division of the Russian Fleet there are nine torpedo 
boats, which are to accompany the division under their 
own steam. There are, according to report, two more 
steamers of the Volunteer Fleet still to make their exit 
from the Black Sea — namely, the Smolensk and the 
Peterburg, both good and speedy vessels. Of others 

Previously reported as under orders, the Vladiviir and 
Ueff are said to have broken down ; possibly their 
places may be taken by the Tamboff and another 
vessel ; but one may regard it as not unlikely that 
12^-knot ships would now be held back, in view of the 
critical stage which negotiations have reached and the 
absence of naval escort. 

These movements of Russian ships leave little 
behind outside the territorial waters of Russia. The 
Nikolai I. and Abrek were last reported at Cherbourg, 
making for the Baltic ; the sloop Kvhanets remains at 
Port Said, and a similar vessel, the Kreiser, was last 
heard of at Vigo. There are also two more tprpedo 
boats at present unaccounted for, which were last 
heard of at Brest — namely, Nos. 221 and 222. The 
armoured cruiser General Admiral was last reported by 
the Russian papers as on the voyage from Las Palmas 



RUSSIA'S NAVAL PRECAUTIONS 27 

to Cape Verd Islands, but by this time may have 
drawn nearer to the scene of action. Her name does 
not seem to have been mentioned in any recent 
telegram, but one would gather from the Morskoe 
Sbomik that her mission, whatever it may be, is not 
unconnected with the Eastern crisis. Thus the centre 
of gravity of the Russian navy has been entirely dis- 

f laced, and a very large squadron is either on the 
^acific coast or on the way thither. 

It is worth while, during the brief interval which 
may separate us from the outbreak of hostilities, to re- 
view very briefly the history of this gradual process of 
reinforcement, since it would seem to negative the 
popular impression that Russia has been bluffing on a 
bad hand. So far as regards naval force, and apart 
altogether from the quality of this force, Russia has 
taken her precautions. 

At the end of 1902 Russia had but 26 ships of all 
classes in the Pacific, mounting 679 guns of all calibres, 
and with 8,400 officers and men. When it was decided 
in December, 1902, to reinforce this squadron, 20 more 
ships were despatched, bringing up the total to 46, with 
1,098 guns, and nearly 14,000 officers and men, the 
displacement of this squadron then amounting to some 
200,000 tons. What was clearly intended was by no 
means a bluff, but such an imposing array of fighting 
ships that Russia might be able to dictate her own 
terms and settle herself quietly down as the undisputed 
mistress of East Asia. That point is made quite clear by 
an important article published by the Novosti in Decem- 
ber, 1902, upon the military situation in the Pacific, 
which it described as " the most probable theatre of the 
next armed conflict." The Novosti showed how far more 
ready Russia was than at the close of the Sino-Japanese 
War; it proudly declared that she was now solidly 
established in the Pacific, and " could aspire to great 
political results, and expect to secure them." " We 
possess force on our side," it added, " and resources 
sufficient to solve the most difficult problems," 



28 THE OUTLOOK FOR RUSSIA 

As the time drew near for the promised " evacua- 
tion" of Manchuria, fresh reinforcements were des- 
Eatched, and on the date upon which Russia was to 
ave fulfilled her assurances there were either on the 
spot or en route — including the Mediterranean squadron 
now steaming eastward, but exclusive of the steamers of 
the Volunteer Fleet — no fewer than 59 ships with 1,850 
guns of all calibres, manned by 18,000 officers and sea- 
men, while in second line there were 83 less important 
vessels of the Siberian flotilla. This was no bluff, but 
a very remarkable and serious deployment of material 
force, and it is abundantly evident that this display was 
intended to terrorise Japan into acquiescence with any- 
thing Russia might choose to dictate. The creation of 
the Viceroyalty of the Far East followed ; it was, as the 
Viedxymosti bluntly declared, a " decisive and necessary 
step to affirm the situation which Russia has created for 
herself in the East," while, as regards the promised 
evacuation, it cynically declared that " one may commit 
political faults, but that is no reason why one should 
persevere in them." 

Russia has made and is making the same mistake 
with regard to the Japanese that Napoleon made 
concerning the Tsar Alexander and his Russians in 
1812 — namely, to underrate their tenacity and misread 
their character. Far from being appalled by this im- 
posing array of naval force, Japan confronted the 
situation with quiet confidence. Her diplomacy was 
not weakened as fresh Russian ships appeared on the 
scene ; it rather became inspired with a more unbending 
will and more tenacious resolution. Never before has 
Russian diplomacy been so completely baffled. 

War, we may believe in all sincerity, Russia never 
meant and never intended ; the whole aim and object 
of this great display of force was the prevention of 
war, coupled, be it understood, with the accomplishment 
of Russian aims in the Pacific. With a Tsar ostensibly 
vowed to the gods of Peace, the method adopted 
was the only possible means of harmonising national 



AN IMPERIAL LIEUTENANCY 29 

aspirations with assumed Imperial predilections. But 
Russia is now discovering that a mere tally of war- 
vessels does not constitute naval predominance; that 
docks, arsenals, skilled mechanics, and all the vast 
paraphernalia of naval yards are so many component 
and inseparable parts of sea supremacy. Looking 
too late upon the ill-ordered medley of inadequate 
provision for all the wants of a great fleet in the 
restricted haven of Port Arthur, Russia recognises 
at last her fault, is unable to repair it, hesitates and 
wavers. 

Port Arthur contains in its narrow harbour what 
Metz contained for the army of Bazaine — the fatal 

Sjrms of strategic death. The great war fleet of 
ussia in the Paciflc is in a parlous position ; it has 
no business to be where it is, and the fiill consequences 
of its growth, far beyond all the measure of the 
resources of its Eastern dockyards, were insufficiently 
realised when the the great concentration began. They 
are realised now. 

The appointment of Admiral Alexeieff* to his present 
position dates only fix)m last July, and, as events had 
not at that moment assumed their present critical com- 
plexion, the incident failed to arouse more than passing 
curiosity. It is therefore advisable to see how this 
matter stands. The Ukase of July 30 ordained the 
creation of — to give it its correct name — a special 
Imperial Lieutenancy, which would concentrate in its 
hands all civil, military, and maritime power in the Far 
East, that is to say in the Priamur and Kwantung 
districts. The former of these districts includes the 
Transbaikal, Amur, and Maritime Provinces, or, in- 
cluding Kwantung, a total population of a million and 
a quarter, and an area measuring 1,400 miles from 
west to east and 3,500 miles from north to south. It 
is a very respectable empire in itself, so far as the 
bare fact of superficies is concerned, and the Imperial 
Lieutenant has absolute powers respecting all arrange- 
ments for the preservation of order and security in this 



30 THE OUTLOOK FOR RUSSIA 

territory, whether upon the East China railways or 
elsewhere. 

But this is not all. Admiral Alexeieff is the 
obligatory medium for the correspondence of the whole 
of tne administrations under his control, which have 
neither the right nor the power of entertaining any 
direct relations whatsoever with the various Ministries 
at St. Petersburg. But, even further than this, the 
entire control of the diplomatic relations between these 
territories and neighbouring states is in his hands, 
and definitely secured to him by Ukase, as also is the 
command of all troops and all ships in East Asia. It 
is a Vice- Autocracy. The only measure, so far as can 
be ascertained, that has been taken to define the powers 
of the Imperial Lieutenant has been a declaration that 
these are to be governed by the terms of the Imperial 
rescript of January 30, 1845, which created a Lieu- 
tenancy of the Caucasus, to which appointment Admiral 
AlexeiefTs office bears little or no resemblance. 

The Imperial Lieutenant is, however, responsible to 
a special Committee of the Far East, over which the 
Tsar presides in person. This committee includes the 
Ministers of the Interior, Finance, Foreign Affairs, and 
War, besides any other individuals whom the Tsar may 
desire to call upon for purposes of consultation, but it 
has no executive power whatever, and can only assist 
or impede the Imperial Lieutenant according as the 
views of the various Ministers consulted are in accord 
with those of the Tsar or the reverse. So long as this 
Ukase remains in force there can be no question of 
Count Lamsdorff's absolutely re-seizing the threads of 
Russian policy in the Far East, as suggested by Le 
Temps. Subject only to the will of the Tsar, Admiral 
AlexeiefTs authority is supreme, and this explains the 
reason why diplomatic communications at the present 
juncture are necessarily slow and the procedure tedious, 
since everything has to pass through the hands of the 
distant Lieutenant, who has, wisely or unwisely, been 
made the obligatory medium for all communications. 



TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY 31 

The Russian Minister for War, General Kuropatkin, 
is a man specially versed in the intricate details of 
supply and administration, and no one better than 
SkobeleflTs erstwhile brilliant lieutenant can reckon up all 
that an army in the field requires to draw from its base in 
time of war ; all, in fact, that is contained in that word 
of evil omen — communications. The supply of 200,000 
or more Russian troops on the Pacific littoral, at a 
distance of 5,000 miles from the centre of the empire, 
by means of a poorly-constructed single line of rail, cut 
into two parts by Lake Baikal, is a truly stupendous task, 
from which the stoutest heart of the most accomplished 
quartermaster-general might well recoil appalled. If 
we observe that it takes a month to send a battalion 
from Moscow to Port Arthur, and then proceed to 
calculate the average daily wants of the army in the 
way of stores, suppues, ammunition, and material, the 
strain it will entad on the traffic, and the insecurity of 
the line itself, we shall thank heaven that we are a 
maritime nation, and that our grand lines of communi- 
cation pass by way of the sea. 

We shall probably be ready, after making such 
calculations, to concur with the estimate of the 
Japanese Staff*, that 250,000 men is the inamviuvi 
number of Russian troops that can be kept alive and 
efficient by means of the Trans-Siberian Railway in its 
present condition. Let us consider, again, what pressing 
claims will be made upon the railway for the transport of 
naval stores, and eventually of coal, if the Russian fleet 
fails to clear the sea by a decisive victory. It is evident 
that the naval service alone will desire to usurp a very 
large share of the traffic. But the railway is in the 
hands of the army, and the two services in Russia stand 
even further apart fi^m each other than they do else- 
where. The situation is thus one of great complexity, 
and, whether the Viceroy Admiral restricts himself to 
politics or assumes the command of the army, his 
position remains that of a fish removed from its native 
element 



32 THE OUTLOOK FOR RUSSIA 

What seems certain is that the Russian army is at 
present comparatively weak in numbers, that it will be 
even more strictly tied down to the railway than ever 
was our army in South Africa, and that the greater 
the numbers the less will be their mobility. In view 
of all these considerations, the conclusion is forced upon 
us that the Russian Viceroy of the Far East has been 
surprised en flagrant ddlit de concentration^ and that the 
immediate military outlook for Russia is cheerless, 
containing little but the prospect of unbalanced risks. 

All discussion upon eventualities upon the mainland 
must, however, remain academic until the naval situa- 
tion is cleared up. The Russian bear has disagreed 
with many famous military digestions, and the chances 
are that he will prove excessively tough. The Russian 
ships are good, the officers and men are carefiilly 
selected, while the little that is known of Russian 
gunnery would seem to indicate that it is above the 
average. The command of the sea is not an asset with 
which one side or the other begins a war ; it is the 

Srize of battle, and has to be fought for and won. 
Nowadays, when the finest battleship can be sunk at 
a blow by a torpedo fired in the night by an unseen 
enemy at 3,000 yards' range or more, it requires some 
boldness to dogmatise on the result of a fleet action 
or to predict the issue of a maritime war. 

If then, as report declares. General Kuropatkin is 
opposed to war, one can only make the comment that 
it proves him to be a man of sense, and that it is 
unfortunate for Russia that she was so short-sighted 
as to have taken for the substance of military pre- 
dominance what was, in fact, but the semblance. 

After all, Russia is fighting for its dinner, and Japan 
for its life. It is reasonable that Japan, which has 
organised all its forces on sea and land with the single 
purpose of success in the campaign now impending, 
should have more accurately studied the conditions 
and weighed the chances than even mighty Russia, 
with her attention distracted by many anxieties and 



LACK OF FORESIGHT 3d 

her best brains employed upon all sorts of other pro- 
blems having no connection whatever with the subject 
in hand. How Russia proposes to emerge from the 
hopeless quagmire into which she has been plunged by 
lacK of foresight it will be for the future to show. If 
we can picture ourselves at the Russian conclaves which 
are considering this question, we can well believe that 
in such a proud military empire there must be many 
voices raised in favour of stubborn resolves. 

ToiU pent se r^ablir, as Napoleon III. telegraphed 
laconically after the first German victories in 1870; 
nothing is lost so long as Russian fleets and armies 
remain unbeaten. The plain evidence before the world, 
however, is that Russia must either accept the terms 
of Japan and retire, with an immense loss of prestige, 
or fight to retain a position she has deliberately taken up. 



8 



CHAPTER III ^ 

RUSSIAN TROOPS, REINFORCEMENTS 
AND COMMUNICATIONS 

The reports received from several correspondents of 
The Times who are in a position to supply accurate 
information, enable us to advance a step towards 
penetration of the customary veil of mystery which 
enshrouds the proceedings of Russian armies in the 
field. 

Until evidence is given to disprove the very com- 
plete and remarkable summary of the Russian forces 
east of Lake Baikal sent by the Peking correspondent 
of T'he 2'ivies on January 21,^ the estimate of numbers 
therein given holds the field. Reckoning up the 

> From The Times of February 2, 1904. 

Peking, January 21. 

* llie following corrected list of the Russian military forces in the Far 
East to date comprises all the troops east of Lake Baikal in Siberia and 
Manchuria, includmg those guarding the whole of the Manchurian railways 
and the railways between Vladivostok and Kbabarovka, and those guarding 
the Amur River, and the troops on shore at Vladivostok, Possiet Bay, Dalny, 
and Port Arthur. 

The total strength at the present moment in this vast region consists, 
inclusive of the frontier or railway guard, of 3,116 officers, 147,479 men, and 
26G guns. 

'I'hc infantry, numbering 2,100 officers and 105,829 men, consists in the 
first place of 32 regiments of East Siberian Rifles, each with 39 officers and 
1,90G men. Each regiment has one company of mounted infantry. There 
are also four regiments of regular army infantry from Russia, Nos. 123, 124, 
139, and 140, consisting of 16 battalions with 312 officers and 15,248 men ; 
also IG battalions of infantry field reserve with 252 officers and 15,300 men ; 
also one battalion and one company of fortress infantry from Nikolaievsk 
with 20 officers and 1,186 men. The two battalions of Port Arthur fortress 
infantry recently became the 29th Regiment, and the six battalions of 
Vladivostok fortress infantry became the 30th, 31st, and 32nd Regiments 

34 



TOTAL RUSSIAN FORCE 85 

available troops of all arms, the correspondent placed 
the nominal strength on the date given at 150,000 men 
and 266 guns. His telegram must be regarded as a 
tour de force in the art of military intelligence, and as 
a model of accurate and concise reporting. 

A critical examination of the very complete details 
sent in this remarkable telegram only serves to confirm 
its accuracy at almost every point. It includes the 
whole of the troops of the 1st and 2nd Siberian Army 
Corps and of the Kwantung military district, besides 
fortress troops, frontier guards, and other forces not 
included in the larger units now present in East Asia. 
The names or numbers and the normal garrisons of all 
these troops are known in England, and all information 
concerning them can therefore be rigorously checked. 

of East Siberian Rifles. The frontier g^rd infantry, 65 companies with 
288 officers and 13,103 men, make up the total of the infantry. 

Of cavalry there are 148 squadrons, with 603 officers and 21,914 men, 
made up of six refnil*r cavalry squadrons from Russia, 87 squadrons of Trans- 
Baikal Cossacks, and 55 frontier guard squadrons. 

The artillery consists of 36^ batteries, with 266 gwa^. There are 15 field 
batteries of eignt guns each and one of six guns ; four horse batteries of six 
pms each ; two mountain batteries of eight guns each and one of six guns ; one 
■eavy battery of eight guns ; one horse mountain section with two guns ; also 
mx batteries with six ouick-firers each ; also six frontier guard batteries of 
eight guns each. Each battery consists of six officers and 242 men. There 
are also two battalions of garrison artillery at Vladivostok and two at Port 
Arthur, consisting of 16 companies with 42 officers and 2,620 men ; also one 
eompany at NikoUievsk. The total artillery force is 264 officers and 10,567 



The engineers comprise 22 companies with 88 officers and 3,745 men>- 
namely, two battalions of East Siberian Engineers, including a telegraph 
eompanv; the 4th Trans-Amur railway battalion (not four battalions as 
reported) ; alM> the Ussuri railway brigade ; also the Port Arthur engineer 
eomjpany, besides one submarine mining company at Nikolaievsk and another 
at Vladivostok ; also a balloon section. 

The supply transport comprises 60 officers and 5,423 men. 

In reaaing these figures it is necessary to remember and to understand 
certain fiu^ts about the Russian position. First, the line of communications 
between Manchuria and ^Vestern Siberia consists of a single line of lightly 
eoRstmcted railway ; secondly, the Manchurian Railway, which is somewhat 
exposed to wreckage, traverses for 1,555 miles an unfriendly country whose 
people may possibly regard the Japanese as liberators : thirdly, the total 
strength given represents the full war strength and assumes that not a single 
man is sick or absent nor a single gun disabled. 

All the Russian fleet, except four armoured cruisers at Vladivostok, is at 
present at Port Arthur, wedged in a confined harbour, or rather basin, with 
eoly one dock a%'ailable for repairs. 



36 RUSSIAN TROOPS, ETC. 

The telegram in question contains proof that account 
has been taken of the latest changes in Russian military 
organisation in the Far East, since it enumerates regi- 
ments which have only been formed during the last few 
weeks on the strength oiprikazes of quite recent date. 

We are also enabled for the first time to ascertain 
which army corps in the west are being drawn upon for 
reinforcements. Of four regiments named, Nos. 128, 
124, 139, and 140, the first two belong to the 10th 
Russian Army Corps of the Kharkoff district, and the 
remainder to the 17th or Moscow Army Corps. 
Whether the remaining units of these corps are under 
orders or on the move eastwards there is at present 
nothing to show. 

Besides these regiments of the active army there are, 
it would appear, sixteen battalions of reserve infantry 
in Manchuria. It is probable, but it is not quite 
certain, that these belong to the 1st Siberian Reserve 
Brigade, whose headquarters are at Chita. The Times 
correspondent very properly remarks that the numbers 
he gives " represent the ftill war strength " and take no 
account of waste. The numbers, in point of fact, 
accurately represent the war strengths at which these 
Russian forces should stand if they were up to their 
proper strength, a subject upon which nothing definite 
is yet knovni. The Russian troops in East Asia are 
always nominally on a war footing, and it may be 
added that for some time past companies of infantry 
have been drawn from European garrisons and sent 
east to complete effectives. 

Many considerations arise from a close study of this 
information. It would appear that out of 266 field 
guns only 36 are of the new quick-firing pattern. This 
statement may be compared with the announcement 
that has been made, on the faith of German reports of 
Russian origin, that the whole of the artillery to be 
employed against Japan "is now armed with quick- 
firing guns." Both the Russian and the Japanese 
artillery are at present in the stage of transition, and 



ARTILLERY REARMAMENT 37 

nothing is more difficult than to secure accurate details 
of the progress of the rearmament of a foreign artillery. 
The new 1900 pattern 8-in. quick-firing Russian field 
gun is in process of manufacture, and the exact number 
of batteries issued to the troops is not known. The 
same remark applies to the new Arisaka quick-firing 
field gun of Japan at present under construction at the 
Osaka arsenal It is, however, probable that each side 
win make superhuman efforts to bring the largest 
number of these new guns into the field, and this fact 
may account for the rumours of the movement of 
Russian batteries firom garrisons like I^odz, on the 
German frontier, which would naturally have been the 
first to receive the new material so long as there was no 
dan^r of war in the East. 

We must remember, however, that a wholesale 
change in the artillery armament entails the transport 
of not only the new guns, but of the ammunition and 
all the vast impedimenta of ammunition columns and 
parks. Even when such change is eflfected, the old 
personnel must either be replaced or trained in the 
efficient use of the new material, and, whether one 
solution or the other is preferred, it is a work requiring 
time. The technical details made public respecting 
these two new models are at present insufficient to 
enable us to institute a close comparison or to draw any 
final conclusions, but it would seem that the new 
Russian gun has a greater initial velocity, a longer 
range, and can fire with more rapidity. It is useless, 
however, to possess a better gun than the enemy unless 
the gunners are thoroughly trained in its use. In the 
older classes of field guns the Russians also seem to 
have the advantage, and in case of war the first duel of 
the rival gunners will be watched with an interest not 
untinged with a modicum of anxiety by the friends of 
Japan. 

The Peking correspondent of T/ie Times places 
the frontier guard infantry at 13,871 and the cavalry at 
fifty-five squadrons, presumably Cossack sotnias, which 



38 RUSSIAN TROOPS, ETC. 

at war strength would give nearly 10,000 men ; adding 
the six batteries of fix)ntier guard artillery, we should 
find a total of between 24,000 and 25,000 men told off 
for the guard of the line of communications along the 
railway. It may also be noticed that the five Cossack 
voiskos in East Asia, presuming all classes liable to 
serve are called out, can supply 60,000 men and nearly 
50,000 troop horses; certain categories of the reserve 
and of the opoltchenie or landsturm in non-Cossack 
territories would also give an additional number to be 
drawn upon in case of emergency, without calling up 
fresh troops from the west. 

One of the points of greatest interest in the Peking 
telegram is the proof it appears to afford that a smaller 
number of Russian troops has been despatched from the 
west than was believed. Confirmation of this is given 
by The Times correspondent on the Russian side, 
whose letter of January 12 from Khailar, an important 
station on the Manchurian railway, makes it clear that 
he has so far found little evidence of special preparation 
for war: and he states that he learns on excellent 
authority that only 15,000 men have passed eastward 
since June last, and that several thousand time-expired 
men have been sent home. All this gives the measure 
of the amount of reliance we can place on statements 
which have been made in the Continental press re- 
specting the flow of Russian troops eastward, and 
serves to confirm the impression that the Russian War 
Office, at all events, have neither desired nor intended 
to make war. It is clearly Russia's interest to avoid 
war at almost any cost until the railway round Lake 
Baikal is completed, the carrjring power of the Trans- 
Siberian Railway improved, the Port Arthur docks 
built, and the battleships now on the stocks in the 
Baltic made ready for sea. When these things are 
done the whole conditions of a struggle with Japan for 
supremacy in the East will become radically altered. 

So far as concerns communications by land, the 
strangulation at Iiake Baikal is a serious disadvantage 



RAILWAY DIFFICULTIES 39 

for Russia. Tlie IHmes correspondent in Manchuria 
states that two steamers are now running across the 
lake, the largest making seven voyages, or fourteen 
crossings, in two days. He tells us that the railway 
round the lake will not be completed until 1905, 
or a year later than Russian calculations had antici- 
pated,? and he adds that by the combined means of 
sledges and steamers some 750 tons of stores can be 
conveyed across the lake in twenty-four hours. From 
this he concludes that eight trainloads can be taken 
across the lake every day, and that this figure represents 
the nuuvimum capacity of the traffic on the line of com- 
munications at uiis important point. 

This question requires a little further elucidation. 
The break in the Trans-Siberian at Lake Baikal is a 
serious blemish in the Russian military position in the 
Elast. A railway is under construction round the 
southern shores of the lake, but so far it has only 
reached Tonkhoi, whence it is a two hours' journey to 
the eastern shore. The railway enterprise encounters 
difficulties ; it requires the piercing of many tunnels 
through the spurs of the lofty mountains which fall 
abruptly to the shores of the lake, and Russian 
engineers have very little experience of making tunnels 
and are not adepts in this branch of railway work. 
There are, besides, broad and deep marshes to be 
spanned, and the plant required for this purpose will 
require many construction trains to be devoted to its 
traiisport if the work is to be carried on concurrently 
with the supply and reinforcements of the army in the 
East We learnt what it meant in the Sudan to 
continue work on a railway and yet keep an army of 
only 20,000 men at the front supplied. The Russian 
numbers are ten times greater, and the line of com- 
munications three times longer ; the Russian difficulties 
are therefore by so much the greater, even though the 
Trans-Siberian is, on the whole, more solid than the 
desert railway of 1898. Lake Baikal is 400 miles in 
length, and is usually frozen over for several months 



40 RUSSIAN TROOPS, ETC. 

in winter, the first serious frost having occurred this 
year on January 2. The ice generally increases to a 
thickness of three feet, and though two steam ice- 
breakers are available and can break through ice of 
moderate thickness, heavy frost is liable to cause steam 
traffic to be suspended. 

During the months of February, March, and April, 
the traffic is almost exclusively by sledge ; it is at this 
moment that the circulation on the Russian roads in 
the East reaches its maooimumy and so long as Baikal 
remains hard frozen it is rather an advantage than the 
reverse. But the lake is subject to severe storms, and 
if these occur before the ice has become firmly set it 
becomes hummocky, and the traffic by means of sledges 
is oflen delayed. In early spring and in autumn the 
greatest difficulties arise, since the ice is too weak to 
bear sledges, and yet strong enough to impede naviga- 
tion, except by specially constructed craft. With the 
melting of the ice the Russians are thrown back upon 
their steamers, and when this moment arrives the French 
General Staff calculates that only two trainloads can be 
despatched each way in twenty-four hours. 

The calculation of the Japanese Staff is that at 
present six trains a day can be sent east every twenty- 
four hours under wholly favourable circumstances, but 
they believe that four trains a day are more likely to 
represent the fact. One must, however, differentiate 
between the Trans-Siberian and the so-called East 
China railways of Russia. The methods used in the 
construction of the latter sections were a distinct 
advance upon those employed in the Siberian line. 
There was less corruption and fraud, more honesty, and 
consequently more solidity in construction. For these 
reasons we must calculate that for all local railway 
transport in the triangle Port Arthur- Kharbin-Vladi- 
vostoK it should be possible to despatch twelve to fifteen 
trains a day at an average speea of twenty miles an 
hour, provided sufficient rolling stock is available, and 
that so long as these railways remain intact they should 



NEUTRAL CHINA 41 

play a most important role in enabling Russia to meet 
a Japanese attack, or to transfer Russian forces from 
one flank of the front of strategic deployment to the 
other. 

As regards China, the most important point to bear 
in mind is that the preponderating influence of the 
great Viceroys and of the Chinese military authorities 
will be almost wholly on the side of Japan, no matter 
what temporary successes Russian diplomacy may 
achieve in Peking. It is a Japanese interest for China 
to remain neutral, so that Russia may not be able to 
clear her flank by an act of vigour against China before 
the Japanese army is able to intervene effectively upon 
the mainland. 



CHAPTER IV » 

THE PACIFIC SQUADRON LEASES 
PORT 

On January 30 the Russian squadron at Port Arthur 
was galvanised into activity by an order which arrived 
late at night ordering the ships in the category known 
as the " Armed Reserve " to be at once completed for 
sea, and the entire squadron to leave port. For all 
practical purposes it has now been proved that there 
IS little difFerence between the readiness of ships in 
commission and of those in this so-called category of 
reserve. It was known that the difficulties of the 
entrance channel and the inferior seamanship of Russian 
officers would render the despatch of the squadron to 
sea a somewhat laborious operation. The Russian war- 
ships are not usually navigated either into or out of 
Port Arthur under their own steam by their own 
officers, but are towed by tugs in charge of local 
pilots. 

The process of extracting the squadron from the inner 
harbour and East basin began early on January 31, 
and took three days ; it was only on the afternoon of 
February 3 that the squadron steamed out to sea, 
part of this naval force, at least, returning to the 
shelter of the shore batteries twenty-four hours later. 
The squadron was observed off the east coast of the 
Shantung promontory on the 4th, when twenty-six 
ships were counted, and though there is a doubt con- 

» From The Times of February 8, 1904. 
42 



A NAVAL MOVEMENT 43 

ceming one vessel, it seems probable that all the best 
of the Russians ships are at sea. 

What may have been the object of this short cruise 
other than the very necessary one of resorting to the 
natural element of a navy, and of shaking the ships 
together, is not for the moment clear, nor is it certam 
whether the rumoured approach of sixty Japanese 
vessels towards the same waters was the cause of the 
prompt and prudent return of the Russian battle fleet 
under the protection of its shore batteries. If the 
Russian squadron were British, and a St. Vincent were 
installed at the Admiralty on the Neva, we could 
venture an opinion on the orders under which this 
squadron would probably act in case of war. But as 
in every great military nation the military question — 
using the term in its popular sense — comes first, and 
the navy is too often a mere accessory to military ends, 
we must first see how the military question stands and 
then judge this naval movement in relation to it. 

The obligatory line of initial deployment of the 
Russian land forces in the Far East was sketched out 
in the columns of The Times some weeks ago, and upon 
this line the Russian troops have since been steadily 
accumulating. Port Arthur, with its outlying defences 
extending up to Talienwan Bay, and the narrow grip 
at Kinchou where the promontory connects with the 
mainland, has a strong garrison, which may be set 
down at about 25,000 men of the land forces. An 
important part of the active troops of this garrison, 
numberii^ 9,000 men, was removed during the first 
days of February, partly to defend the railway against 
hostile raids and partly to strengthen the force assembling 
on the Yalu. The place of the troops sent away from 
Port Arthur will be taken by four of the new regiments 
of East Siberian Rifles recently created fix)m the old 
fortress units. 

Standing on the defensive, as Russia does and must 
for the moment, her forces are necessarily scattered, 
the threat implied by an expected descent of a 



44 PACIFIC SQUADRON LEAVES PORT 

Japanese army making it indispensable to take pre- 
cautions, so that, no matter what the plan of the 
Japanese may be, the Russian forces may be in a 
position to resist with vigour. It is for this reason 
that strong detachments of Russian troops have been 
posted at various points on the railway between Niu- 
chwang and Liauyang. They serve to protect the 
railway against raids from seaward, and in the event 
of a more formidable attack can combine to form the 
nucleus of a force astride the railway and the line of 
advance of a Japanese army upon Mukden and 
Kharbin. 

Towards the Yalu there has been a considerable 
movement for some time past, the apparent object of 
this movement being to place a strong containing force 
upon all the roads leading northward from Korea. The 
line held is a very extended one, reaching as it does 
from Antung, near the mouth of the Yalu, up to the 
source of the Amnokkiang beyond Samsoun, where 
probably touch is gained with detachments of troops 
from Vladivostok. The greater part of the line is 
doubtless merely a chain of observation posts held by 
Cossacks to prevent the incursion of small parties to 
the northward; stronger detachments guard the few 
roads which traverse the boundary, and the bulk of 
what may be designated as the strategic advanced 
guard is stationed on the lower Yalu, with headquarters 
at Fenghwangchenn, through which passes the best 
road of all those that traverse the Korean frontier. On 
the lower Yalu there are probably not less than 20,000 
Russians, who can be supplied by the sea while the sea 
is open, and also from the railway at Liauyang, whence 
100 carts are said to proceed daily to the camps at the 
front 

No correspondent has yet found his way to the 
Russian camps on the Yalu, and the estimate of 
20,000 men as the Russian strength at this point is 
therefore only an approximation. The tally of Russian 
forces sent to us by St. Petersburg has the customary 



RUSSIA ON THE DEFENSIVE 45 

disadvantage of Russian news — namely, that of being 
contrary to fact- The Russian army, we are told, " which 
would operate " in the Far East aggregates 390,000 
men, and 110,000 more can be sent east every month. 
Doubtless the whole Russian army " would operate " in 
the Far East if it could, but the whole point of the 
military situation is that it cannot No one in England 
is disposed to under-estimate for a moment the 
patriotism and the solidarity of the Russian army 
and the Russian nation. History affords too many 
proofs of the courage of the one and the tenacity of 
the other for any such error to be permissible. But if a 
Russian staff officer exists who is capable of supplying 
the wants of an army of half a million men by means 
of a single non-continuous line only capable of admitting 
of the passage of four trains a day at an average speed 
of 70 to 200 miles in the twenty-four hours, at a 
distance of 5,000 miles from Moscow, the ^hade of 
Moltke must hide his diminished head. And if this 
same officer proposes to interpolate 110,000 men a 
month in the midst of his supply trains he is certainly 
a sanguine spirit. 

The natural inference from such facts concerning 
the military position as are known is that Russia 
intends to stand on the defensive to the north-west 
of Korea, as elsewhere, so placing her troops that she 
may be able to resist an advance from Korea and 
oppose raiding parties at other points in strength. 
Russia arrogates to herself political merit from this 
course, and prides herself upon her moderation and 
forbearance, but there is no inherent merit in any act 
performed under compulsion, and, in view of the drain 
upon the field army entailed by the garrisons, no other 
course is open to Russia but the defensive, unless her 
squadron clears the sea by a decisive victory, in which 
case the force on the Yalu would probably enter 
Korea. 

It is natural that the presence of a strong Russian 
force on the Yalu should provoke alarm at Seoul, 



46 PACIFIC SQUADRON LEAVES PORT 

whence the Russian Minister, M. Pavloff, continues to 
scatter abroad all sorts of strange fancies, which are 
rather entertaining than instructive ; but an advance 
of the Yalu troops into Korea appears to offer no 
advantage to Russia, and many disadvantages. There 
is, therefore, no special reason to expect it, although, 
should the occupation of certain Korean ports become 
a military necessity to Japan, the Russians would 
naturally cease to pay any further attention to the 
tracing of a conventional n*ontier. 

One must always anticipate that a commander will 
adopt the line of action which is most in consonance with 
his mterests. In the initial strategic deployment of an 
army this is all the more likely to happen, since the 
whole plan of campaign will have been usually thought 
out by the best brains in conclave, and the personal 
element will have been more or less eliminatea. It is 
later on, when the unexpected happens, and decisions 
have to be made which nave not been considered in 
advance, that the personal factor resumes all its 
importance, and victory inclines to the commander 
who makes the fewest mistakes. 

To revert now to the naval question, what is the 
rSle of the squadron in this defensive deployment that 
has been described ? Obviously to fall upon the Japanese 
navy if it is signalled escorting a convoy of transports, 
or even if it offers battle unhampered by transports, 
provided the disparity of strength is not too great But 
if it takes three days to pass the Russian squadron 
throuffh the entrance channel of Port Arthur, it is clear 
that the squadron may miss its opportunity, since even 
in 1894 tne Japanese proved capable of landing a 
division and a half in fifteen days, and they are now 
much more advanced in the difficult art of disembarka- 
tion than they were in the last war. It is therefore 
necessary that the Russian squadron should be in the 
outer roadstead, or at some other port more suitable for 
its purpose, or at sea. 

When the 2nd Japanese army under Marshal Oyama 




Field Marshal Mahoui?; Iwao Oyhma 



COAST DEFENCES 47 

landed to attack Port Arthur in 1894, the mouth of the 
Huaquan River east of Pitszewo was selected, and here 
the army was thrown ashore, the escorting fleet covering 
the movement from the Elliot Islands, which stand out 
like sentries off the line of coast. There is a good 
anchorage at Thornton Haven, and the Russian torpedo 
flotilla has been constantly in observation at this point. 
As an alternative jumping-off place Thornton Haven 
has some advantages, but, on the whole, the heavy guns 
of the shore batteries at Port Arthur are likely to offer 
the greatest attraction to a navy unaccustomed to blue 
water, and the Russian Admiral will probably be in no 
great hurry to lose sight of them for long, aeprived as 
he is of the Vladivostok cruisers and with the Russian 
squadron from the Mediterranean still far away. 

So far as can be judged, the Russian squadron is 
anchored outside the old Chinese boom which is in 
position at the narrow entrance, while a second boom 
closes the east port where the torpedo boats of the 
defense mobile are stationed. The squadron is therefore 
open to attack, and even invites it, secured, no doubt, 
against surprise by patrol boats and scouts at sea, and 
wth its nets in position to defy torpedoes. 

The great strength of the coast defences of Port 
Arthur, the dominating position of some of the forts, 
and the number and calibre of the guns in battery, 
many of which run up to 10 and 12 inches, render an 
attack upon the Russian fleet in its present position an 
extremely hazardous undertaking for Japanese battle- 
ships. There is no sort of analogy between Port Arthur 
and Aboukir Bay, and one cannot believe that the 
Japanese navy will not find a much better means of 
measuring its strength with its opponent in his present 
position than by engaging him with heavy ships at such 
a great and manifest disadvantage. 

The Japanese Government must be heartily con- 
gratulated upon the measures it has taken to prevent 
the publication of a single item of news disclosing its 
plans or the position of any part of its armed forces. 



48 PACIFIC SQUADRON LEAVES PORT 

An insular state has peculiar advantages in this respect 
if it takes its measures of precaution in advance, and 
these precautions have been very thoroughly well taken 
by Japan. The result is that an enemy, when war 
breaks out, is in constant doubt and dread ; feints am 
magnified into serious attacks, and troops are marched 
and counter-marched to respond to conditions changing 
from day to day. Orders, counter-orders, disordeifs 
follow in rapid succession, and the fight for pc^tion it 
half won before the first shots are fired. The mitiativel 
— that is what every good soldier and sailor always 
prays for, and in the hands of an insular state, prepared 
for war, it can become a terrible weapon indeed. 



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3 



CHAPTER V^ 

THE SURPRISE AT PORT ARTHUR 

The Japanese navy, thanks to the mascuUne decision 
of the Mikado and his advisers, has taken the initiative, 
and has opened the war by an act of daring. On 
the night of February 8-9 ten Japanese destroyers 
in three divisions surprised the Russian squadron in 
the outer roadstead at Port Arthur, and dehvered their 
attack with such good effect that two of the best battle- 
ships of the Russian squadron and a cruiser were disabled. 
The Japanese boats then made good their escape without 
injury. " I most devotedly inform your Majesty," 
telegraphs Admiral Alexeieff to the Tsar, ** that about 
midnight between February 8 and 9 Japanese torpedo 
boats delivered a sudden mine attack on the squadron 
lying in the Chinese roads at Port Arthur, the battle- 
ships Retvisan and Tsarevitch and the cruiser Pallada 
being holed. The degree of seriousness of the holes 
has to be ascertained. Particulars will be forwarded 
to your Imperial Majesty." 

Of the two battleships injured, the Tsarevitch^ at 
present commanded by Captain Grigorovitch, was built 
at La Seyne. She was commissioned towards the end 
of 1902, and sent out to the East later than any of 
the other Russian battleships on the station. She is 
the largest ship in the squadron, displacing 13,100 
tons, with 16,800 I.H.P., 18 knots nommal speed, gun 
protection of 6 in. to 11 in., and a weight of broadside 

> Compiled from articles in The TimeM of February 10, 11, and 15, 1904. 

49 4 



50 THE SURPRISE AT PORT ARTHUR 

fire totalling 3,516 lb. The Retvisan, now commanded 
by Captain Shtchensnovitch, was lately the flagship of 
Rear- Admiral Baron Stackelberg, and has a displace- 
ment of 12,700 tons; she has 16,000 I.H.P., 18 knots 
speed, from 5 in. to 10 in. of armour, and a weight of 
broadside fire of 3,484 lb. She was built at Cramp's 
yards at Philadelphia, and was commissioned two years 
ago for the first time. 

These battleships are the two most powerful vessels 
of the Russian squadron ; they are the best armoured 
and the best armed. Their disappearance firom the 
fighting line at this juncture is nothing less than a 
national calamity for Russia, and may have conse- 
quences that can hardly be exaggerated. 

The third vessel injured is the Pallada, a first-class 
protected cruiser commanded by Captain Kosovitch. 
She is a comparatively new ship, having been launched 
in August, 1899, and is of 6,630 tons displacement, 
with a speed of 20 knots. This vessel was also among 
the ships which were sent eastward to reinforce the 
Russian squadron in the early part of last year. 

Owing to its position in the outer roadstead the 
Russian squadron was open to, and invited, attack. 
The invitation has been accepted with a promptness 
and a punctuality that do high honour to the navy of 
our gallant allies. Our anticipation was that the 
Russian squadron was doubtless secured against sur- 
prise by patrol boats and scouts at sea, and that nets 
were probably in position to defy torpedoes. This, it 
would appear, was a too sanguine estimate to make 
of Russian prudence and foresight, but whether pre- 
cautions were taken or not, it is clear that they were 
absolutely ineffectual. The moral effect of this exploit 
promises to be enormous, and may influence and colour 
the whole conduct of the war. 

On the day following this surprise. Admiral Togo 
engaged the Russian squadron with the heavy guns 
of his battle-fleet at a range of 8,000 yards. In this 
fighting the Russian battleship PoUava^ the first-class 



TOGO'S REPORT 51 

protected cruisers Diana and Askold, and the second- 
class cruiser Noxnk were injured. The damage done 
to the Japanese ships was repaired in a few days, and 
placed none of them out of action. The Russian losses 
m the night attack were fifteen, and in the action 
next day sixty-six. 

Admiral Togo's official report of the fighting at 
Port Arthur on the 8th and 9th gives the interesting 
intelligence that the Japanese squadron suffered but 
very sught damage and that its fighting strength has 
not decreased. It appears fix)m the report that " the 
combined fleet" left Sasebo on the 6th, and that 
"everything went off as planned." The details of the 
night attack are not recorded, but it appears that the 
cause of the cessation of the fight on the 9th was 
the retreat of the Russians towards the harbour, with 
a view, no doubt, of drawing the Japanese under the 
closer fire of the land batteries. Admiral Togo very 
wisely resisted the temptation of following, and steamed 
away with a loss of four killed and fifty-four wounded, 
or approximately the same as that suffered by the 
Russians, but with his ships uninjured. He states that 
the Russians appeared to be demoralised, and it is 
probable that they had hardly recovered from the moral 
effect of the previous night's surprise. 

During tne torpedo-boat attack a light southerly 
breeze was blowing ; the wind increased in force by the 
10th, and the Japanese Admiral gives this as his reason 
for not sending more detailed reports from the ships 
under him. If the intention was to have continued the 
attack on the following nights, this fact may have 
accounted for a change of plan. 

On February 11 a fresh disaster occurred. The 
mining transport Yerdseiy endeavouring to secure a 
submarine mme which had become displaced at the 
entrance of Talienwan Bay, struck against another mine, 
which exploded under her bows, causing the vessel to 
sink so rapidly that 96 of her crew perished. The 
Yeni$ei was laid down at Kronstadt in 1898 and 



52 THE SURPRISE AT PORT ARTHUR 

launched the following year. She was of 2,500 tons dis- 
placement, 17^ knots speed, and had 4,700 I.H.P. Her 
armament consisted of five 4'7-in. and six smaller quick- 
firing guns, and she carried normally 500 mines. This 
disaster has cost Russia dear, and, besides the re- 
grettable loss of life, will have entailed the disappearance 
of valuable stores which will not easily be replaced, 
although a sister-ship, the Amur, still remams at 
disposal So far as one can judge fi-om the Viceroy's 
report, the Japanese had no hand in this affair, which 
discloses a carelessness at least equal to that which has 
marked the earlier phases of the Russian naval pro- 
ceedings. 

While these events were occurring at or near Port 
Arthur, a detached division of the Japanese navy under 
Admiral Uriu, accompanied by transports, made for 
Chemulpo. On the arrival of this force off the port 
on the evening of Monday, February 8, the Russian 
gunboat Karietz, an old unarmoured vessel of 1,200 
tons displacement and 18 knots speed, opened fire upon 
the Japanese, and then ran for the harbour to join her 
consort, the Variagy a vessel which marked her passage 
out to the East by a demonstrative cruise in the Persian 
Gulf, and thereby obtained some fleeting notoriety. 
This ship was launched in 1899, and is a first-class 
protected cruiser of 6,500 tons, 20,000 I.H.P., 28 knots 
speed, with an armament of 12 6-in. and 22 smaller 
guns, the weight of broadside fire being 510 lb. The 
Russian ships remained in harbour until threatened 
with bombardment in port by Admiral Uriu, when they 
steamed out and met their fate gallantly. After an 
engagement of thirty-five minutes at ranges of 5,250 to 
9,800 yards with the Japanese vessels, both Russian 
ships returned to port, and, together with the Russian 
transport Sungari^ which was also in the harbour, were 
sunk by their own crews. The latter were taken on 
board foreign warships in the harbour. 

By these acts of vigour the Japanese navy have 
profited by the initiative conferrea upon them by 



TWO DiiCLARAtlONS OF WAR 58 

statesmanship, and have established a moral mastery 
of the situation. Following upon these events, a 
formal declaration of war was made by each Power on 
February 10 in the following terms : — 

The Tsar's Declaration of War 

" We proclaim to all our faithful subjects that, in 
our solicitude for the preservation of that peace so dear 
to our heart, we have put forth every effort to assure 
tranquillity in the Far East. To these pacific ends we 
declared our assent to the revision, proposed by the 
Japanese Government, of the agreements existing 
between the two empires concerning Korean affairs. 
The negotiations initiated on this subject were, how- 
ever, not brought to a conclusion, and Japan, not even 
awaiting the arrival of our last reply and the proposals 
of our Government, informed us of the rupture of the 
negotiations and of diplomatic relations with Russia. 

" Without previously notifying that the rupture of 
such relations impUed the beginning of warlike action, 
the Japanese Government ordered its torpedo boats to 
make a sudden attack on our squadron in the outer 
roadstead of the fortress of Port Arthur. After 
receiving the report of our Viceroy on the subject, we 
at once commanded Japan's challenge to be replied to 
by arms. 

"While proclaiming this our resolve, we, in un- 
shakable corfedence in the help of the Almighty, and 
firmly trusting in the unanimous readiness of all our 
faithful subjects to defend the Fatherland together with 
ourselves, invoke God's blessing on our glorious forces 
of the army and navy." 

The Mikado's Declaration of War 

** We, by the Grace of Heaven, the Emperor of 
Japan, seated on the Throne occupied by the same 
djmasty from time immemorial, do hereby make 



54 THE SURPRISE AT PORT ARTHUR 

proclamation to all our loyal and brave subjects as 
follows : — 

" We hereby declare war against Russia, and we 
command our army and navy to carry on hostilities 
against her in obedience to duty and with all their 
strength, and we also command all our competent 
authorities to make every effort in pursuance of their 
duties and in accordance with their powers to attain the 
national aim, with all the means within the limits of 
the law of nations. 

" We have always deemed it essential to inter- 
national relations, and made it our constant aim to 
promote the pacific progress of our Empire in civilisa- 
tion, to strengthen our friendly ties with other States, 
and to establish a state of things which would maintain 
enduring peace in the Extreme East, and assure the 
future security of our Dominion without injury to the 
rights and interests of other Powers. 

" Our competent authorities have also performed 
their duties in obedience to our will, so that our 
relations with all Powers have been steadily growing in 
cordiaUty. 

" It is thus entirely against our expectation that we 
have unhappily come to open hostiUties against Russia. 

" The integrity of Korea is a matter of gravest 
concern to this Empire, not only because of our 
traditional relations with that country, but because the 
separate existence of Korea is essential to the safety of 
our realm. 

" Nevertheless, Russia, in disregard of her solemn 
treaty pledges to China and of her repeated assurances 
to other Powers, is still in occupation of Manchuria, 
and has consolidated and strengthened her hold upon 
those provinces, and is bent upon their final annexation. 

" And since the absorption of Manchuria by Russia 
would render it impossible to maintain the mtegrity 
of China, and would, in addition, compel the abandon- 
ment of all hope for peace in the Extreme East, 
we determined, in those circumstances, to settle the 



TORPEDO WARFARE 55 

question by negotiations and to secure thereby a per- 
manent peace. 

" With that object in view our competent authori- 
ties by our order made proposals to Russia, and frequent 
conferences were held during the last six months. 

" Russia, however, never met such proposals in a 
spirit of conciliation, but by her wanton delays put off 
the settlement of the serious question, and by ostensibly 
advocating peace on the one hand, while she was on the 
other extending her naval and military preparations, 
sought to accomplish her own selfish designs. 

" We cannot in the least admit that Russia had 
from the first any serious or genuine desire for peace. 
She has rejected the proposes of our Government. 
The safety of Korea is in danger. The interests of our 
Empire are menaced. The guarantees for the future 
which we have failed to secure by peaceful negotiations 
can now only be obtained by an appeal to arms. 

" It is our earnest wish that oy the loyalty and 
valour of our faithful subjects peace may soon be 
permanently restored and the glory of our Empire 
preserved." 

It is only natural that the striking success of the 
Japanese torpedo flotilla on the night of February 8 
should have produced a very great impression upon public 
opinion, and that a tendency should be already manifest 
to depreciate battleships and all their works. There is 
no doubt that the jeune Scole in France, the school of 
the late Admiral Aube and M. Charmes, will be in 
ecstasies at the apparent fulfilment of all its prognosti- 
cations, and one may feel confident that the porte 
parole of this school, that excellent little periodical, the 
Marine FVanfoise, will not fail to profit by this realisa- 
tion of its hopes. It may also be admitted that many 
circumstances have conspired to cause the torpedo and 
the torpedo menace to be somewhat underrated even 
by men of great experience and competence in England. 
There has been no real and decisive war-proof to strike 



56 THE SURPRISE AT PORT ARTHUR 

the balance between the claims of torpedo fanatics and 
the counter-claims of their opponents. It is very 
improper for a young lieutenant to send an admiral to 
the bottom of the sea by torpedoing the flagship at 
manoeuvres, and many a young naval officer has turned 
away, when his claim has been refused by the umpires, 
and with a shrug of the shoulders has comforted himself 
with the thought that the result would have been 
different if it had been " the real thing." 

Torpedo warfare offers limitless opportunities for 
the display of all those qualities of nerve and audacity 
which distinguished young naval officers in the countless 
cutting-out exploits of former wars, and, as Port Arthur 
has shown, the result of success may prove almost equal 
to that of victory in a fleet action in the open sea. 
Therefore the results of the Japanese blow at Port 
Arthur will very properly cause torpedo enthusiasts to 
set to work with redoubled zeal to perfect both the 
means at their disposal and the methods of its employ- 
ment in war. 

But it is at least as important to study this question 
without enthusiasm, in the coldest light of reason, and 
to ask ourselves whether Port Arthur has proved 
anything that was not known before. There is surely 
not one single officer in our navy who is not aware of ^ 
the increased range, accuracy, and destructive power 
of the latest type of torpedo ; there is surely not one 
who would care to risk some fourteen warships in an 
open roadstead, closely grouped and at anchor, with an 
active enemy within striking distance, unless; he had 
been able to take the most complete and comprehensive 
precautions against surprise. The surprise at Port 
Arthur, on its technical side, proves absolutely nothing j 
but the fact that modem science has outstnpped the I 
capacity of certain nations to make intelligent use ofj 
the new weapons. 

The sequence of events appears to have been a^ followi 
By an order emanating from St Petersburg, the Russia 
squadron left port, put to sea, returned and anchor 



RUSSIAN NEGLIGENCE 57 

under the protection of its shore batteries on February 4. 
On the 6tn Japan broke off negotiations, and informed 
Russia of her intention to take measures to protect her 
own menaced interests. That meant war, and the news 
i^peared in the Official Messenger the same evening, 
and was promptly communicated to Admiral Alexeieff. 
With incredible negligence the Russian squadron 
remained inert; all the harbour lights and beacons 
remained in position ; no special precautions were taken, 
save that a patrol of three torpedo boats was sent out ; 
all the rest of the light craft returned to port, leaving 
the squadron as a gift to the enemy. The night was 
clear, the sea calm, and the moon was shining. Of 
what followed we know the material points. The 
Jiqianese appeared, and the first indication of their 
presence was the shock of one of their torpedoes. 

Not satisfied with the faults they had already 
committed, the Russian ships turned on their search- 
lights, better silhouetting their outlines in the darkness, 
and enabling the Japanese to take better aim. Not a 
ship or a boat moved out before dawn, and this fine 
squadron thus deliberately offered itself up a passive 
victim to a certain doom. Very naturally, the Japanese 
made choice of the finest vessels, and kept on hammering 
away with the result that we see ; there is nothing to 
cause astonishment, save the comparative slightness of 
the Russian losses. 

Battleships, as en^nes of war, stand precisely now 
where they stood before, neither anything better nor 
anjrthing worse. After all, why were the Russian ships 
not at sea ? Because they were, strategically speaking, 
afraid of the Japanese navy. And why ? Because of 
the assumed superiority of the enemy's battleships ; 
therefore, one might claim with perfect justice that it 
was the direct threat of the superior battleships that 
caused the Russian squadron to suffer the disaster we 
know. Yet we do not cry down the credit of torpedo 
craft for that reason. In the art of war there is a 
place for everything, and everything has its place. 



CHAPTER VP 

THE LESSON OF PORT ARTHUR 

The result of Russian unreadiness for hostilities has 
entailed such a terrible calamity upon the Pacific 
squadron that it is worth while, during the momentary 
lull in the operations, to revert once more to the 
question and to ask ourselves, with the incidents of 
1899 jfresh in our minds, whether we are seriously 
armed against similar disasters. 

Although nothing can excuse the carelessness of the 
Russian commander at Port Arthur, the determining 
cause of the naval surprise was undoubtedly the failure 
of the Tsar's advisers at St Petersburg, and of the 
Viceroy of the Far East, to issue the necessary warning 
to the fighting services. Everything in the Russian 
arrangements betokened profound peace. The main 
squadron of battleships lay out in an exposed anchor- 
age, where it was open to and invited attack. The 
guardships at Chemulpo, isolated and far from support, 
lay peacefully at anchor; elsewhere, the Volunteer 
Fleet steamers and other Russian vessels were pursuing 
their normal duties as though Japan had ceased to 
exist. It was not until the report of the attack on the 
night of February 8 reached St. Petersburg that, in 
the words of the Tsar s manifesto, " we at once com- 
manded Japan's challenge to be replied to by arms." 

Nothing justified this childlike confidence. The 
negotiations had been steadily pointing, every day w4th 

» From ail article in The Times of February 18, 1904. 
58 



UNREADINESS AT SEA 59 

greater clearness, to the outbreak of hostilities, and on 
the 6th Mr. Kurino had made a communication which 
left no possible doubt of the intentions of Japan. This 
communication was frank and explicit ; it was published 
in the Official Messenger on the 6th, and the Japanese 
Minister then withdrew. The only complaint open to 
Russia to make is that Mr. Kurino did not name the 
point of attack and the precise hour at which operations 
would begin. This is a convention of peace manoeuvres, 
but it is not war. Still nothing was cnanged, no orders 
were sent, and, with an insouciance as fatal as incom- 
prehensible, the Colossus waited to be struck. It had 
not long to wait. The seizure of the initiative by 
Japan is a matter that more directly concerns the 
statesman than the fighting services. It is the readi- 
ness of Japan and the decision to take rapid action that 
stands out as an example for us to follow. 

A surprise in operations on land can rarely, if ever, 
affect more than a part of the army attacked, since 
national armies extend over a large expanse of country, 
and the final result of the campaign is not necessarily 
much affected by the fate of a fraction of the army of 
operations. At sea things are different, and five 
minutes of negligence before hostilities commence can 
make all the difference between the gain or loss of the 
command of the sea. A few days ago the Russian 
Pacific squadron, containing most of the best Russian 
battleships afloat, although slightly weaker than its 
enemy, in the proportion of eleven to fourteen, could 
still aspire, by audacity and hard fighting, to win a 
great victory or to perish gloriously. Now it is par- 
tially a wreck, its best ships lying crippled upon the 
mud and rocks of Port Arthur, others sunk, burnt, 
damaged, or destroyed. It has not won a victory, it 
has not sunk an enemy's ship, and, the Variag apart, it 
has not perished gloriously. 

Appalling is the result and far-reaching the effect of 
unreadmess at sea. " He who has only land troops 
fights only with one hand ; he who has a fleet as well 



60 THE LESSON OF PORT ARTHUR 

fights with two." That was said by Peter the Great, 
the father of the Russian fleet, who must turn uneasily 
in his grave at the disaster which has befallen the 
service he loved. It is not only the loss of a squadron, 
the loss of prestige, and the first step towards the loss 
of the command of the sea ; it is the loss to Russia in 
East Asia of one hand, and a grave disadvantage en- 
tailed upon the army by the loss of that support upon 
which it had the right to count. The loss of an army 
to a military empire of 130 million souls is the loss of an 
army and nothing more ; the men can be replaced, the 
disaster retrieved. But ships lost can but rarely be re- 
placed during a war, be it of unusual duration, even if 
national resources afford, as Russia's do not, the utmost 
facilities for naval construction and armament. The 
hand, even if it be considered but the left, is amputated. 

Far firom thinking the Japanese attack on the night 
of February 8, two full days after the announcement 
of the intention to take action, was an exception, or a 
deviation from tradition and precedent, we should rather 
count ourselves fortunate if our enemy, in the next 
naval war we have to wage, does not strike two days 
before blazoning forth his intention, instead of two 
days after. The tremendous and decisive results of 
success for the national cause are enough to break down 
all the restraining influences of the code of international 
law and Christian morality. How many instances 
could not be given of acts done and actions accom- 
plished in past history which tear into shreds all the 
checks and counterchecks upon the play of national 
passions, propounded or settled over tables covered 
with green baize by jurists and academicians of the 
highest repute? 

The question then arises whether it is possible to 
make such provision in the system of government that 
the grave risk of naval surprise may be reduced to its 
lowest terms, or entirely removed. Politically con- 
sidered, Russia and Japan were on equal terms, since 
in one country a legislature did not exist, and in the 



NATIONAL SECURITY 61 

other it was not consulted. The natural disadvantage 
of democracy contending with autocracy was not, there- 
fore, in question. It is quite evident that if the govern- 
ment of one country is empowered to declare and wage 
war proprio motu, and if the other has to assemble 
Parliament, vote supplies, pass on its enactments to a 
higher Chamber, and finally obtain the sanction of the 
Chief of the State, the second of these two countries 
is almost disarmed before a sudden onset. 

It was for this reason that Article 8 of the French 
Loi Constitutionelle of February 25, 1875, laid down 
that " Le Pr^ident de la R^publique . . . dispose de 
la force arm^ " ; and though it went on to say that war 
could not be declared without the assent of the two 
Chambers, nothing was said or done to detract firom 
the President's duty and right of safeguarding the 
nation against surprise by any measures required in the 
interests of public safety. 

Moreover, a very important understanding was long 
ago arrived at between French diplomacy and the 
fighting services. It was agreed that, when negotia- 
tions with a foreign Power became critical, diplomacy 
should warn the army and navy that the p&iode ae 
tension politique had come. The onus of taking de- 
fensive measures was then placed upon the competent 
authority, and the risk of such a disaster as has befallen 
Russia was avoided. 

Although it is rather the action of Japan than the 
inaction of Russia that stands out as the great lesson 
for England in this tragic event, the established practice 
of the French democracy is one to be laid to heart. 
As a provision for national security it represents a 
minimum. Nothing, of course, can atone for incom- 
petence in high quarters ; against stupidity the gods 
themselves fight in vain. Under the British system, 
national security is very largely dependent upon the 
Prime Minister's conscience. We are now in the 
throes of a reform, part of which, and a very material 
part, will establish, in the person of the Secretary of 



62 THE LESSON OF PORT ARTHUR 

the Defence Committee, a keeper of the Prime 
Minister's conscience in matters of defence. It is 
something, but it is not enough, since, if a Prime 
Minister has a conscience, he keeps it himself, and, if 
he has not, no one can keep it for him. 

In order to make it impossible that such a disaster 
as Port Arthur may befall us in war, we cannot do 
better than adopt the French precept and practice, and 
lay it down as the right and the bounden duty of the 
Foreign Office to communicate the fact to the Defence 
Committee when negotiations have gone so far as to 
imperil our relations ^dth a foreign Power. It then 
remains for the Committee to instruct the fighting 
services to adopt the necessary measures of precaution 
all over the globe. By no other means can we discount 
the danger of personal failing, whether in the Prime 
Minister or in his colleagues ; and by these means alone 
can we secure the automatic working of the machinery 
charged with the preservation of national security. 
What we require is to place it out of the power of 
incompetence to risk great national interests, and, above 
all, those of a service which we have just seen fall the 
victim of diplomatic and governmental incapacity. 

To Russia it is the loss of a fleet ; to England it 
might be the loss of an Empire. 



CHAPTER VII » 
1812? 

With the sea to a great extent cleared of Russian ships, 
Japan is only hampered by the embarras du choix as 
concerns landing-places ; but as the two main groups of 
Russian forces within striking distance are at Port 
Arthur and on the Yalu, it is probably against these 
that the first operations on land will be directed. There 
is, however, nothing whatever at present to disclose the 
plans of the Japanese Staff, or to give warning of 
the direction of the impending blows. 

The news sent by General Jrflug of Japanese action 
in the Liautung Gulf is interesting as far as it goes. 
From his report of February 15 it would appear that 
he believes the Japanese are preparing to land at 
Tsinwendao to the west of the gulf, and the Russian 
posts on the Hsinmintun post road already report the 
appearance of something that may possibly be Japanese 
patrols near Ichahepu. The immediate effect of this 
alarming report was the prompt retreat of the Viceroy 
and his Quartermaster-General to Kharbin, where they 
run less risk of being cut off. When the Russian patrols 
have made up their minds concerning the identity of the 
mysterious figures observed on the post road, and have 
established clearly whether they are the advanced guard 
of a Japanese army or Manchurian ladies going to 
market, it will be time enough to consider their report. 

* Compiled from articles iu The Timet of February 13, 17, 19, and 23, 
1904. 

63 



64 1812 ? 

Meanwhile it seems hardly worth while to have attached 
such importance to mere conjecture. 

It is clear that enemies are seen everywhere, or, as 
the Japanese say, " in every wind that blows," and that 
the Russians for the first time in their history are getting 
an attack of nerves. That is the usual result of the 
defensive against a maritime Power in a position to 
strike with both hands. 

Therein lies the tremendous menace and the terrible 
strength of an island Power prepared for war, whose 
navy and army do not dribble mto action in succession, 
but are each and all prepared to strike together with 
their full force, and to strike home. Naval action alone 
can do much ; it is the essential, but its power ceases at 
the shore, and decisive war — a war, that is, which com- 
pels peace — can only be waged by a maritime Power 
whose entire armed strength can be thrown into the 
balance in one formidable and united mass. If, again, 
this weight is multiplied by velocity, we get military 
momentum ; the heavier the weight, and the greater the 
velocity, the more resistless the blow. 

Japan is taking a leaf from British practice and vastly 
improving upon it. We have waged many wars and 
have often struck hard and quick by sea, but seldom or 
never has our army been ready to second this action at 
the outbreak of war. Hence all the long, desultory, 
and costly wars of the past. Japan is about to show us 
how to wield that double-edged and mighty sword 
forged by union of all military effort to a common 
purpose. What matter if a few transports are sent to 
the bottom? There are 46,000,000 Japanese behind, 
and why should we be less ready to sacrifice 10,000 men 
during attack by sea than we are to lose the same 
number in a battle on land ? So we see the first fleet 
of Japanese transports spread their wings and take 
flight m the wake of the warships like a flock of wild- 
fowl, and we can feel for the Russian fowler on the 
Yalu who sees them wheeling and circling round, but 
cannot tell whence they come nor whither they go, and 



THE JAPANESE CENSOR 65 

can only turn round on his own axis and curse the 
strength of their pinions. -^*t^ 

The practice of Japan to-day stands as the ideal and 
model of national strategy for an island empire, and the 
nearer we can approach to it the more confidently may 
we anticipate the prevention of war in the wide 
territories under the British Crown. 

There can be little doubt, Pflug's teiTors apart, that 
a growing volume of evidence points to the speedy 
launching of the first considerable elements of the 
Japanese armada firom the southern harbours of the 
Island Empire. How many troops were transported 
in the first flight, which closely followed the warships, 
and where all the troops were landed, is not yet fully 
established. All that is known for certain is that there 
is a strong advanced guard in occupation of the line 
Chemulpo-Seoul, and it is probable that this action was 
completed by disembarkation at other ports, in order to 
seize all points and positions of vantage behind which 
the first army to be landed can confidently assemble. 
Whether the Russians are right in believing that this 
covering army numbers, or will eventually number, 
60,000 men cannot as yet be ascertained. 

Success in this critical operation being now certain, 
the Japanese censor is beginning to relax a little the 
rigours of his very necessary, but very annoying, office. 
Correspondents are beginning to tell us of the prepara- 
tions at Nagasaki, where there were on the 15th some 
ten large steamers capable of transporting * a Japanese 
division at war strength ; and, if other southern ports, 
including those of the Inland Sea, are similarly well 
equipped, we are about to witness a striking instance 
of the power of a maritime nation to despatch a great 
military expedition over-sea, with all resources intelli- 
gently combined to further the pursuit of national aims. 
Where this armada will touch land is still a matter 
of conjecture. The correspondents and the foreign 

' It is believed that the Japanese allot transport at the rate of U ton«i 
groM p«r man for a division. 

5 



G6 1812 ? 

press favour the Yalu, or some.jpoint nearer the Liau- 
tung Peninsula ; but the drift-ice appears to offer 
almost insuperable obstacles to landing operations in 
the extreme north of the Liautung Gulf and the Bay 
of Korea at this moment, especially at the points where 
much fresh water comes down to the sea. 

Such change as there is in the naval situation is in 
favour of Japan. M. Pavloff has, indeed, suppUed his 
government with a new version of the Chemulpo fight, 
which claims that two Japanese vessels were lost and a 
large number of men killed and wounded during the 
engagement ; but, as the Minister was at Seoul when 
the action took place, his evidence is of little value 
beside the Japanese official account, which has clearly 
stated that no such losses occurred. There is a strong 
detachment of the Japanese navy off Fusan, doubtless 
waiting for Captain Reitzenstein, temporarily in naval 
command at Vladivostok ; and as this detachment pro- 
bably consists of four armoured cruisers, and can enlist 
the guardships and Ught craft posted in observation off 
Tsushima and on each side of the straits, the career of 
the Vladivostok cruisers is likely to be brief if their 
enterprising commander steers a course to the souths 

After dallying in the vicinity, if not at the port, 
of Jibuti for the best part of a month, the squadron 
under Admiral Virenius has retraced its steps and is 
on the point of returning to the Baltic. This squadron 
includes the battleship Oslyabya, the cruisers Aurora 
and Dmitri' Donskoiy the Volunteer Fleet steamers OreU 
Saratoff^ and Smolensk, and eleven torpedo-boats and 
destroyers, exclusive of one under repair at Alexandria. 

Synchronising as it does with the appointment of 
General Kuropatkin to command the army in Manchuria, 
this decision must be taken to betoken the abandonment 
for the present of all hope of recovering the command 
of the sea, and to indicate a fresh disposition of Russian 
forces and a recasting of strategical ideas. 

In Russia's interest the appointment of General 
Kuropatkin to the command of tne army of Manchuria 



KUROPATKIN 67 

must be considered a measure of wisdom. The General 
stands higher than any other Russian officer, not only 
in Russian opinion, but in that of professional soldiers 
all the world over, and if any human agency can change 
the deplorable situation to Russia's advantage, Kuro- 

gatldn may be the man to do it The glamour of 
kobelefFs achievements has descended upon his lieu- 
tenant, who is a past-master in the art of campaigning 
under difficulties of distance and climate, and is, or 
should be, thoroughly acquainted with all the strength 
and all the weakness of the Russian military position 
in the East Russia possesses a small leavening of 
highly educated officers of ability and distinction, who 
are the equals of any officers in the world. Unfortu- 
nately, the distance which separates these few fixjm the 
mass of regimental and departmental officers is greater 
than in any other army, ana it is useless to make skil^l 
plans and order elaborate movements which are over the 
heads of subordinates who have to execute them. 

It is evident that all the plans based upon joint 
action by land and sea have been torn to shreds by the 
surprises of the past fortnight, and that the army and the 
requirements of land warfare now dominate the situation. 
Although Admiral AlexeiefF remains Viceroy, we must 
assume that General Kuropatkin will be the real master, 
for otherwise his position will be impossible, and it is 
probably only on these terms that he would have desired 
to proceed to the East. General Kuropatkin will know 
exactly whether to take as correct the news of the 
McUin that 400,000 men will be in Manchuria in a 
fortnight, or that of the TempSy which places the 
eflPective field army available at under 70,000. In all 
probability the returns will disclose that the data 
supplied by The Times correspondent at Peking on 
January 21 are near the mark, and that after strong 
garrisons have been thrown into Port Arthur and 
Vladivostok and the guards on the railway strengthened, 
the available surplus will not represent a field army 
" worthy of the dignity and might of Russia." 



68 1812? 

The Russians are under less delusion now as to the 
strength and detennination of their enemy. " Remem- 
ber that the foe is brave, confident, and crafty," the Tsar 
tells his soldiers ; " Our foe is strong," says the Viceroy 
in his proclamation, and his reported retirement to 
Kharbin proves that he thinks it. 

There are signs, in fact, which may or may not be 
substantiated by events, that the naval disasters have 
induced the Tsar's military advisers to make a truly 
heroic resolve — namely, to have recourse to the tradi- 
tional strategy of 1812, and to fall back towards the 
interior, laying waste the country — which belongs to 
China — before a Japanese advance. " The fortress of 
Port Arthur," we are told by the V^iceroy, "having 
been put in a state of siege, is ready to serve Russia as 
an inaccessible stronghold." History, it may be paren- 
thetically remarked, knows many strongholds, but none 
that are inaccessible. 

This has been followed by a very significant and 
interesting official proclamation^ in the Russian press 
on February 18. Much time, it declares, is now 

^ The text of this communique was as follows : — 

" Eight days have now elapsed since all Russia was shaken with profound 
indignation against an enemy who suddenly broke off negotiations, and, by a 
treacherous attack, endeavoured to obtain an easy success in a war long desired. 
The Russian nation, with natural impatience, desires prompt vengeance, and 
feverishly awaits news from the Far East, llie unitv and strength of the 
Russian people leave no room for doubt that Japan wiU receive the chastise- 
ment she deserves for her treachery and her provocation of war at a time 
when our beloved Sovereign desired to maintain peace among all nations. 

" The conditions under which hostilities are being carried on compel us to 
wait with patience for news of the success of our troops, which cannot occur 
b<(fore decisive actions have been fought by the Russian army. The distance 
of the territory now attacked and the desire of the Tsar to maintain peace 
were the causes of the impossibility of preparations for war being made a long 
time in advance. Much time is now necessary in order to strike at Japan 
blows worthy of the dignity and might of Russia, and, while sparing as much 
as possible the shedding of the blo<>d of her children, to inflict just chastise- 
ment on the nation which has provoked the struggle. 

" Russia must await the event in patience, being sure that our army will 
avenge that provocation a hundredfold. Operations on land must not be 
expected for some time vet, and we cannot obtain early news from the theatre 
of war. The useless shedding of blood is unworthy of the greatness and 
power of Russia. Our country displays such unity and desire for self-sacrifice 
on behalf of the national cause that all true news from the scene of hostilities 
will be immediately due to the entire nation." 



THE TSAR'S INTENTION 69 

necessary in order to strike at Japan blows worthy of 
the dignity and might of Russia, which must conse- 
quently await the event in patience. Twice in a few 
lines the communication repeats that the useless shed- 
ding of blood is unworthy of Russia, and it implicitly 
acknowledges Russia's present inability to resist the 
impending attack in the positions she now holds. 

If this is not a distinct intimation to the Russian 
peopleof theTsar's intention to repeat 1812 at the expense 
of Japan, it is devoid of all sense and meaning. It may be 
frankly admitted that a resort to the traditional national 
strategy of the past, should it follow this announcement, 
would not be devoid of elements of grandeur. It would 
open out a new horizon and change at a stroke the 
entire complexion and character of the war. What 
memories are not entwined round the fateful incidents 
of Moscow and Beresina 1 Will a Japanese Fezensac 
or Segur recount, for the benefit of their descendants, 
the horrors of another mid-winter retreat, the wasting 
away in Manchurian snows of another grande armie^ 
the ruin of another Empire and another Emperor? 
There is not, let it be said at once, the slightest chance 
that Japan will repeat the fatal errors of Napoleon. 
First of all, she has no Bonaparte ; secondly, she has 
no desire to date her Imperial decrees from the Kremlin ; 
and, thirdly, she has no Spain to burn her military 
candle at the other end, no Prussia or Austria to fall 
upon her when she wavers, no implacable England to 
close to her the seas. Is it not rather Russia herself 
who must, by force of circumstances, incur the same 
disabilities from which Napoleon suffered ? If Russia 
proposes to abandon Manchuria, or a part of it, with 
or without an Eastern Borodino, that is her affair ; the 
Japanese object is attained, and China will be installed 
in her rightful position. But if the Russian strategists 
think their enemy will follow them up from Kharbin to 
Baikal and from Baikal to the Ural Mountains, why, 
we are in the realms of phantasy, for 18lL has gone by 
and the days of the Grand Army have been lived. 



70 1812 ? 

If, then, the decision has been arrived at gradually 
to withdraw such field army as Russia can at present 
collect before the superior force of Japan, it will be 
clearly seen that in this case necessity has been the 
mother of strategic invention, and that what has been 
announced as high policy is, in fact, nothing better than 
an act performed under compulsion. The Russian 
forces are greatly scattered, while the blow impending 
from the impenetrable gloom of the sea paralyses deci- 
sion by reason of its unknown force and uncertain 
direction. In the interest of Russia it is an act of 
wisdom to unite these scattered fragments and avoid 
detached fighting in order to escape defeats which 
would affect the spirit of the troops. That is not quite 
the phrasing of the official communique^ but the meaning 
is the same. But a fault in the initial deployment of 
an army is not easily repaired after contact with the 
enemy, and the deployment of the army in East Asia 
has become faulty, not entirely from want of prescience 
in the distribution of such forces as exist, but largely by 
reason of the total and unexpected failure of the Russian 
navy to exercise the slightest influence upon events. All 
the vast accumulation of troops, stores, and impedimenta 
intended for action in a given set of circumstances cannot 
rapidly be transferred to another point and be made 
available for other needs. The Russians are watching 
the Yalu with almost painful anxiety ; it is impossible, 
reports General Pflug, to cross the river on the ice 
below Shakedtse, and one almost hears him add, " Thank 
heaven ! " He has no idea where the enemy may be ; 
reports, he says, are contradictory and scarce, but he 
feels sure that Yuanshihkai's troops are being sent to 
Sinchufu and Kupantse, and the news does not appear 
to cause him any pleasure. It is bad enough to have a 
strong and confident enemy preparing to attack in front 
or flank at unknown points in uncertain strength, but it 
is worse to think of the rightful owners of Manchuria 
manifesting an intention to mass troops so inconveni- 
ently in tfie rear. 



A WAR OF EXHAUSTION 1 71 

The tacit admission of the inferiority of the Russian 
mihtary position in East Asia, conveyed by the sig- 
nificant prockmation of February 18, gives the first 
indication that the Russian Government realises the 
facts of the situation. That, at least, is something to 
the good. It hints that Russia will not face the loss of 
military prestige entailed by the possible annihilation of 
her Eastern army piece by piece, and that she intends 
her troops to fall back upon their reinforcements, gather- 
ing strength like a spring that is compressed, until their 
numbers are superior to those of Japan, when they will 
exact a long-delayed vengeance. It is a great resolve, 
and it is worthy of Russia, but its success depends upon 
the will of the enemy. 

Port Arthur, with the ruin of a mighty squadron, 
is left in isolation anything but splendid ; freed from 
the harassing attentions of a Russian field army, the 
Japanese will sit down calmly before the Russian naval 
arsenal and reduce it at their leisure. The transfer of 
the whole Pacific littoral and its Russian fortress and 
fleet to Japan as the result of a first campaign is all that 
the most sanguine spirit could either have desired or 
expected, and no other result can ensue if Russia adopts, 
so far as lies in her power, the policy of 1812, suitable 
enough for other days, other conditions, other frontiers, 
and other enemies. 

That this momentous resolution, could it be carried 
into effect, would contain elements of advantage fcr 
Russia and of eventual danger for Japan we need not 
be concerned to deny. In a long drawn-out war of 
exhaustion Russia is invincible to attack from eastward. 
But can Russia herself afford to wage a war of ex- 
haustion ? Armies of a quarter of a million men are 
not kept in the field on a permanent footing, or new 
fleets built for a song. 

A war of exhaustion ! That is what this announce- 
ment portends, if it is not deliberately concocted to 
deceive. It is a mid-winter's madness, since, if the 
Japanese refuse to run amok through the deserts of 



72 1812 ? 

East Asia, and calmly begin to reduce the great Russian 
fortress, no Tsar and no Russian army can reftise to 
move forward to its relief. How can a great army 
stand still with ordered arms while its comrades are 
calling aloud for succour? It would become the 
laughing-stock of Europe and the mock of Asia. 

The adoption of the spirit of 1812 in the fiiture 
conduct of the war against Japan is incompatible with 
the retention of Port Arthur as a fixed point round 
which all the subsequent operations of the Russian field 
army must fatally revolve till the fortress falls. 



CHAPTER VHP 

PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS, 
FEBRUARY 15— MARCH 7 

It is now known that an advanced guard of four 
battalions accompanied the division of cruisers under 
Admiral Uriu, which reached Chemulpo on the night 
of the 8th and disposed of the Russian ships in port on 
the following day. Joined with the Japanese troops 
already establised at or near Seoul, this gave a handy 
little force of some four or five thousand men to seize 
and overawe the capital of Korea and establish order 
and security at this populous centre and focus of intrigue. 
This prompt and audacious measure was justified by 
success, and the surprise of the Port Arthur squadron, 
which occurred simultaneously, cleared the air and gave 
the required security for further operations. Very 
wisely, the Japanese decided not to risk their transports 
in the north of the Yellow Sea until the danger at Port 
Arthur was scotched. The greater part of the first 
section of the army of invasion was directed upon Fusan 
and Masanpo in the first instance, the destination being 
altered when the success gained at Port Arthur was 
realised ; it was realised with much promptness, and every 
advantage was taken of the change in the situation. 

As events have turned out, the 12th Division, which 
was the first to land at Chemulpo, might have been 
directed upon this port at the heels of the advanced 

• Compiled from articles in The TimeJt of February 24 and 27, March 1 
and 9, 1904. 

73 



74 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

guard, and a week or so have been thereby saved. But 
it was not possible for the most sanguine to expect that 
the immediate menace of the Russian navy would be 
dispelled in less than twelve hours after the firing of the 
first torpedo, and the whole operation of troop transport 
seems to have been planned with a very fair admixture 
of prudence and audacity, no serious liberties being 
taken until the situation justified greater boldness. Tlie 
Times correspondent on board the Haimun ^ names only 
two divisions, the 12th and the Guard, of which the 12th 
alone had arrived when The Times steamer left Chemulpo; 
but he adds that another division is following, and it 
may be regarded as certain that transports no sooner 
clear their cargoes than they return for more. 

The Japanese 12th Division has its headquarters at 
Kokura, and its troops are drawn from the north-eastern 
section of the island of Kiushiu, which lies to the south- 
west of the Inland Sea. One of its battalions forms the 
normal detachment at Seoul, and this unit has doubtless 
become embodied in its division once more. The 12th 
Division includes the 8th, 9th, 87th, and 88th regiments 
of infantry, formed in two brigades ; a regiment of 
cavalry of three squadrons, an artillery regiment of 
thirty-six guns, an engineer battalion, and a complete 
provision of ammunition and supply columns, field 
telegraph, and hospitals, being in these respects provided 
in the same manner as other divisions. 

One may take the ration strength of a Japanese 
division at 19,000 men, and the combatant strength at 

' The enterprise of The Times in fitting out the Haimun with equiuraent 
for wireless telegraphy^ and the admirable manner in which Captain Lionel 
James and his staff applied this new machinery to the uses of war correspon- 
dence for the first time, met with a very unfavourable reception on the part of 
the bellifi^erents. During the second week in April the following circuutr was 
communicated to the Powers : " Le lieutenant de Sa Majeste I'Empereur en 
Extreme-Orient vient de faire la declaration suivante : ' Dans ie cas ou 
des batiments neutres en vue des cotes de la presqu' ile de Kwantoun ou dans 
la sphere d'action des forces navales russes, seraient retenus, ayant a leur bord 
des correspondants des journaux, communiquant k I'ennemi des renseigne- 
ments au moyen d'appareils perfectionnes non prevus encore par les con- 
ventions, ces correspandants seraient consideres comme espions, et les navires 
portant ces appareils captures et retenus commes prises de guerre.' " 



JAPANESE DIVISIONS 75 

14,000 sabres and rifles, with thirty-six guns ; but it is 
possible that a reserve brigade belonging to each division 
will sooner or later join its parent unit, in which case 
the combatant strength would be raised to 20,000 men. 
As each Japanese division is approximately of the same 
constitution it will be unnecessary to refer to these figures 
affain, but concerning the reserve brigades and their 
disposition with the armies of operation there is a very 
wide margin for surprises. 

The Guard Division has no special territorial attach- 
ment, being recruited throughout the army by special 
measures. It includes the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4tn Guard 
regiments of infantry, and is constituted like the 12th 
as regards accessones, except that it has a railway 
battalion in addition. 

In the 12th Division territory there is the Yura 
fortress artillery regiment of twelve companies, from 
which siege artillery could be provided, if necessary, 
to oppose any heavy guns the Russians may have on 
the Yalu. 

If all three divisions have been landed, there may 
be 58,000 Japanese ready to advance upon the Yalu, 
with 108 guns ; but The Times correspondent rather 
seems to indicate that part at least of the artillery is not 
ashore, and that, if the conditions serve, an endeavour 
will be made to seize Chinampo as an advanced base. 
This town, on the Pingyang inlet, inside Tatung Bay, 
was used by the Japanese during the war with China, 
and the present situation of affairs bears some re- 
semblance to that of August, 1894, when the 3rd and 
5th Divisions concentrated towards the Yalu under 
Yamagata. We are, however, only permitted to see a 
comer of the stage. The Japanese are not likely to 
under-estimate the force on the Yalu or to lose sight of 
the overwhelming interest of a first success ; the blow 
which will before long be struck in the north of Korea 
will hardly fall until success is, humanly speaking, 
assured. 

The paralysis that has overwhelmed the Russian 



76 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

navy at this moment is disastrous for its cause. The 
•Japanese are singeing the Viceroy's beard with a 
vengeance, and propose to shift their base northward as 
the army advances, just as if the Russian navy had 
ceased to exist. There is no reason why they should 
not hope to seize Chinampo, and then, after gaining the 
line of the Yalu, utilise Antung as soon as the break-up 
of the ice permits. Their line of communications passes 
not by land, but by sea, vidth this alternative — that, 
even if the relics of the Russian squadron display a 
sudden return of activity, and even win a temporary 
success, nothing is lost, since the land route remains. 

For later operations Niuchwang possesses too many 
advantages to be long ignored when the ice has cleared 
off, but the first busmess in hand is to dispose of the 
Russians on the Yalu, and then to close in upon Port 
Arthur and to draw the line of investment so tightly on 
the land side that other operations may proceed without 
any interference from this quarter. 

What course the Russians on the Yalu will now 
pursue becomes the centre of all interest. A victory 
here, although promising nothing decisive, would be a 
great encouragement ; but, unless the Russian numbers 
are much greater and the Japanese tactics much worse 
than we have warrant to credit, victory is at least 
problematical. A retreat without fighting would ac- 
cord with the declarations made in the Russian press, 
but the moral effect of retreat, without striking a blow, 
from a position occupied for weeks past would be almost 
as serious as defeat. If, again, the Russians hope to 
fall back fighting and repeat some of the earlier incidents 
of 1812, we may be permitted to doubt whether the 
Russian forces possess the necessary skill and mobility 
to escape the embrace of their active foe when once 
they become seriously engaged. A Russian retreat to 
Liauyang would entail a withdrawal from Niuchwang 
and the lower Liau and the severance of communications 
with Port Arthur, whose garrison would be driven in 
upon its works. The Russian proceedings on the Yalu 



SEVEN TRAINS A DAY 77 

will therefore be a test of their strength and intentions, 
and events impending will give the general bearings of 
the strategy of the campaign. 

The Militdr- Wochenblatt very unkindly chooses the 
present moment to repeat and confirm, with the cus- 
tomary wealth of detail to which German military 
criticism is addicted, all that was said in The Times 
before the war broke out of the insecurity and inadequacy 
of the Russian line of communications. It would have 
been kinder of the Wochenblatt to have made its pitiless 
analysis before Russia was irretrievably committed, since 
more attention might have been paid to its conclusions 
by St Petersburg than was given to those of English 
critics. Working out its figures as an academical 
exercise, the German periodical concludes that, with 
seven trains a day, and all circumstances favouring, the 
Russian numbers in the Far East will be increased by 
75,000 men between February 10 and April 4, a period 
of about eight weeks, or at the rate of about 1,400 men 
a day, including the necessary impedimenta. 

It is not a particularly exhilarating estimate even as 
it stands, but as a serious contribution to the study of 
the practical problem it is of no immediate value. It is 
improbable that seven trains a day can be relied on in 
the present condition of the line, and in view of the 
general situation, for the transport of troops. The 
closing of the sea and the declaration of a blockade, 
which cannot now be long delayed, will also throw a 
strain upon the line, which must for some time to come 

Erove very severe. Everything entailing considerable 
ulk, whether for the support of the army, the navy, 
the garrisons, or the civil population, has hitherto 
reached the Russians in East Asia by way of the sea. 
This door is now closed, and as no sort of preparation 
has been made throughout the Viceroy's command to 
meet this situation, and merchants have made no 
attempt to lay in the necessary stocks against lean 
months, Russia is faced by a crisis of unusual pro- 
portions and extraordinary difficulty. 



78 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

If the Russian preparations by land and sea had 
been in accordance with such facts and figures as 
official Russia allows to see the light, and in accordance 
also with the reports that have conceivably misled the 
Tsar, then we might, indeed, have expected to see 
Russian arms throw back the " insolent foe " into the 
sea. But every single page of the war hitherto has 
been a revelation of Russian incompetence, mismanage- 
ment, and misconduct, and we seem to be carried back 
to 1878, and to remember the terrible disillusions of the 
reigning Tsar, who was compelled to arrest the inquiry 
into the wholesale defalcations at that period, owing to 
the influential personages whose names were found 
to be inextricably involved in the scandals. 

We were bound, for want of proof to the contrary 
and in order to keep on the safe side, to accept the 
prima facie evidence of Russian official statements ; we 
were bound, when Kuropatkin himself visited East 
Asia and declared all to be ready, to think at least that 
all was not unready. If Japan finds that she has an 
easier task than she thought, it is so much to the good ; 
better, at least, to over-estimate an enemy than the 
reverse. " People are trying to intimidate us with 
phantoms," wrote the Novoe Vremya three weeks ago, 
in reviewing the warnings of the English press, but 
anything more unpleasantly solid than the Japanese 
phantom has never crossed Russia's path. One is 
lorcibly reminded of Thiers's historic exclamation on 
being informed of the strength of the Prussian army 
before 1870 : — " Allons done 1 Ce sont 1^ des phantas- 
magoriesl Si ces chiffires ^taient vrais, il faudrait 
d^sesp^rer du sort de la France 1 " 

Phantom or phantasmagoria, the parallel is striking, 
and one can only hope, in Russia's interest, that the 
awakening may be less bitter than it was to France. 

Where the weight of the first blow will fall still 
remains a secret, but the scouts of the two armies in 
Northern Korea are in touch between Anju and Ping- 
yang, and this part of the theatre of war remains the 



THE YALU 79 

most probable scene of the first serious encounters. At 

S resent, however, we only know for certain of one 
ivision ashore at Chemulpo, and of two others which 
were following to the same point, but may have been 
diverted further north. Whetner Gensan has or has not 
been occupied by the Japanese in force there is no certain 
proof, nor have we as yet any sign of the direction 
given to the transports conveying the succeeding 
Echelons of the Japanese army to the mainland. 

Although we can none of us pretend to have 
penetrated to the back of the mind of the Japanese, 
or to say what they will or will not do in given circum- 
stances, there can be no doubt that, judging from the 
facts before us, the clearing up of the situation on 
the Yalu is the first military interest of the moment. 
The Japanese army has never yet encountered a 
European foe ; however confident of success the Japanese 
may oe individually, the prudent statesmen who direct 
their councils are not likely to fail to take into full 
account the tremendous moral results of a first success. 
Here is a Russian force on the Yalu separated by great 
distances from the other fractions of the Russian army ; 
here, on the other side, is the whole mass of amphibious 
force fit and ready to strike. The chance of a great 
initial success is altogether too great to be disregarded. 
It is a gift from the gods. Behind the Yalu is the 
very strong position on the Motienling ; every yard 
of it is known to the Japanese. If a combined attack 
by sea and land in overwhelming strength can hope 
to grip and destroy the Russian force on the Yalu, it 
would be flying in the face of fortune to neglect the 
opportunity. 

The world audience that has watched the first scene 
of the Elastern drama with such absorbing interest is, 
however, becoming a little weary of the long interval 
between the acts. Even the music of the naval 
orchestra at Port Arthur ceases to fix attention, and a 

Cetty wrangle at the happily named Pingyang attracts 
ut little notice. When will the curtain ring up to the 



80 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

next act ? First, it seems clear that the rapid collapse 
of the Russian navy was altogether unexpected, and 
that a longer interval was allowed for the decision of 
the contest at sea than the event has warranted. The 
Japanese, like many Englishmen, regarded the result 
of the maritime contest with no little anxiety, since 
they had no actual experience of their new battleships 
in action. They therefore adopted a prudent course 
in their army plans, and, only risking a smaU force at 
Chemulpo while the question of the command of the 
sea was still in abeyance, prepared the chief landing 
at the southern ports of Korea. Such troops as were 
landed and proceeded to Seoul by the land route could 
not reach the Korean capital much before the beginning 
of March, and though a part seems to have been diverted 
to Chemulpo by sea when the extent of the naval 
successes became manifest, it is believed that some 
troops are still plodding along these poor roads and are 
findmg the march a trying one. 

The winter has been of somewhat exceptional 
severity ; the ice covers a wide expanse of sea in fix)nt 
of Vladivostok; Chinampo is not expected to be 
free until March 14; the Yalu about the same date; 
while Niuchwang may not be clear quite so soon. The 
weather has also been terrible, south-westerly gales 
having occurred between the 10th and 22nd, while a 
fresh storm began at the end of the following week. 
All these circumstances mean delay, since there are no 
ports in that part of the theatre of war where the next 
landing is desired which offer suitable facilities for dis- 
embarking troops, and part, at least, of this operation 
must take place on an open beach, fine weather being 
indispensable. 

The break-up of the ice in the Yellow Sea has 
certainly begun, since reports to this effect have come 
both from Seoul and the Yalu ; from Niuchwang there 
has been no recent report A few days, or even hours, 
may at any time change the complexion of affairs, and 
meantime the direction of the blow remains a secret. 



JAPAN'S NATURAL BASE 81 

The settlement of affairs on the Yalu, the invest- 
ment of Port Arthur, and the subsequent assembly of 
the main army for the general advance, is the natural 
course that the situation seems to require. One cannot 
r^^ard the reported landing at Possiet Bay as anything 
serious, nor accept the somewhat imaginative con- 
clusions that have been drawn in some quarters from 
this rumour. Missionaries in flight, several hundred 
miles from Possiet Bay, and necessarily drawing their 
inspiration from Russians who may have prayed that 
the flight of these Britons should take place in the 
Mrinter, would hardly afford evidence of much value. 
But, apart from that, the strength of the Japanese 
resides in their power of concentration, and they would 
not be likely to attack at this distant point when a 
Russian army on the Yalu challenged them to battle 
and Port Arthur dangled such a tremendous bait before 
their eyes. Force attracts force, while a landing at 
Possiet Bay would require 30,000 men to invest Vladi- 
vostok before the rest of the army set out for Kirin 
across some hundreds of miles of detestable country 
over the worst of roads in a district devoid of supplies. 
But, in a way, the manner in which critics accepted 
the news, and drew all sorts of highly coloured pictures 
in their minds, is significant as showing the natural 
results of a diversion — even by a single missionary in 
flight. It may help to show us what results we may 
anticipate from well-directed feints in time of war. 

Japan means to take Port Arthur ; of that we may 
rest assured, since she feels it was pilfered from her 
by an international confidence trick in 1895, and her 
national pride is at stake in the attempt to get back 
what was her own by right of conquest. The natural 
base for her attack on Port Arthur is Dalny and 
Talienwan Bay, just as it was in 1894 ; and as the 
Russians are probably alive to the fact, we can place 
little credence in the reported evacuation of this position, 
more particularly as the advanced works of Port Arthur 
run up to this point. Dalny must be taken, if possible. 



82 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

and the Russians driven out from the works command- 
ing the bay ; but whether the attack will be made from 
the sea or the land side of the peninsula there is no 
evidence to show. It is only when the Port Arthur 
garrison has the key turned in the lock by sea and land 
that Niuchwang becomes a safe and useful advanced 
base for the main advance towards Mukden. While, 
then, the Japanese in Korea, now established on the 
line from Pingyang to Gensan, are drawing near the 
Yalu and serving to hold the Russians in their positions 
on this side, we may except to see a strong attack upon 
Dalny as soon as the weather serves, and the invest- 
ment of the Russians at Port Arthur completed. This 
appears to be the view of the Russian General Stossel, 
commanding the troops in the Liautung Peninsula, who, 
in a somewhat remarkable order of the day, informs 
his troops that they will have the sea on three sides of 
them and the enemy on the fourth side. There is, he 
adds, nothing to do but to fight; and he informs the 
garrison that he will never give the order to surrender. 

It seems rather premature to refer to a surrender 
before the enemy has landed to begin the attack ; and 
the Russians hfurdly require to be told that they must 
fight, because they cannot do otherwise. That they 
will have to fight, and fight hard, is certain, but they 
have all the advantage of position and armament, and 
they can be relied on to make a defence worthy of the 
traditions of the fine army whose honour is committed 
to their safe keeping. 

The appearance of seven Japanese warships off 
VladivostoK on the morning of March 6, and the 
demonstration rather than bombardment which followed 
in the course of the afternoon, naturally led the Russians 
to believe that Admiral Togo had gone north, and the 
fact that 12-in. shells were fired afforded grounds for 
the belief that his battleships took part in the attack. 
We do not as yet know for certain whether the channel 
into Port Arthur is sufficiently clear ^ for the passage of 

' For details of the blocking operations^ see Chapter XVII. 



TOGO WITHIN CALL 83 

battleships, while a degree of doubt still remains as to 
the condition of some of the Russian ships. But from 
such facts as have been reported, on the best evidence 
the nature of the case admits, it is not possible to 
assume that the main Russian squadron is in such 
hopeless case as to permit the transfer of the main 
Japanese squadron to a point a thousand miles distant, 
especially at a moment when the transport of the army 
is proceeding with the utmost possible despatch to 
points within striking distance of Port Arthur. We 
therefore assume that Admiral Togo remains within 
call, hoping for a Russian onset, but perhaps hardly 
expecting it 

The idea that his ships are scattered about escorting 
transports cannot be entertained. There is no menace 
to the transports save from the two Russian fortresses 
where he the Russian ships, and a watch off the ports 
covers everything, and in the most effectual manner. 
So long as Admiral Togo can ensure that the best of 
the Russian ships do not put to sea unseen and un- 
fought, his main task is done, and the presence of a 
second- or third-class cruiser and a destroyer or two 
with each group of transports is quite enough to meet 
the case of the possible evasion of some Russian de- 
stroyers during the course of a winter's night. 

The Japanese squadron off Vladivostok includes, 
according to the Viceroy, the armoured cruisers Idzuvio 
and YaJcumo^ besides other ships which his officers are 
unable to identify. The Nisshin and Kasuga are pos- 
sibly of the number ; their appearance would not be 
known to Russian officers, and, according to the cal- 
culation made after their arrival in Japan, they should 
have been fit to go to sea by the middle of February. 

A later version of the story from the Russian side 
gives the Japanese force as one battleship with four 
armoured and two unarmoured cruisers, which is a 
much more probable estimate. This squadron approached 
Vladivostok from Ussuri Gulf, and steamed towards the 
south-eastern approach of the Eastern Bosporus, which 



84 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

leads to the entrance of the Golden Horn. At 1.25 
p.m. five out of the seven ships opened fire on Forts 
SuvarofF and Linievitch, and upon the town and road- 
stead along the valley of the river Obyassneniye, the 
firing lasting fifty minutes, when the ships steamed off 
to me southward. At the same time, two Japanese 
destroyers examined Askold Island and the eoaat-line 
near Cape Maidel, some thirty miles distant from the 
fortress, and to the south-east of Ussuri Gulf. On the 
7th the squadron reappeared, and at midday approached 
the point fit>m which it had bombarded the town the 
day before ; it then left, making for the open sea. 

It was hardly expected, even at St. Petersburg, that 
the ice would have allowed such close approach so early 
in the year ; and, despite the Russian account, the 
bombardment of the Obyassneniye valley, which lies in 
the most sheltered part of the ground covered by the 
fortifications, must have been a very unpleasant reminder 
of the insecurity of the fortress. 

It is in this part of the town that most of the 
barracks are situated, and as the valley is two niiles 
from the shore of Patroclus Bay it is certainly extra- 
ordinary that the Russian batteries should have allowed 
the Japanese to throw shells into the inmost recesses of 
the fortress with impunity and without reply. Either 
their guns on this side were seriously out-ranged or the 
guns themselves were not ready, and neither alternative 
is creditable to the garrison or to Russia. 

It is quite clear that the action of the Japanese 
squadron was nothing more than a reconnaissance, since 
Patroclus Bay is not the point whence the most telling 
bombardment can be directed upon the town and 
harbour. Meanwhile a sense of insecurity must prevail 
in the town, owing to the proof given that no part of 
the fortress is immune from bombardment. 

The central interest of this episode lies in the ques- 
tion whether the Russian cruiser squadron was inside 
Vladivostok or at sea when the enemy appeared. It 
seems to be believed in Tokio that Captain Reitzenstein's 



NAVAL STRATEGY 85 

cruisers put to sea on February 29 ; but the only 
evidence yet given to support this belief is a report 
brought by an Austrian vessel which reached Hakodate 
from Vladivostok some days ago, and in the interval 
between February 29 and March 6 the Russian cruisers 
may have put back. Judging from the proceedings 
of the Japanese vessels, one would gather that the 
Russian cruisers were in port; but all other evidence 
available points to a different conclusion. In any case, 
owing to the double exit from the Eastern Bosporus, 
it is no easy matter to deny the Russians entrance to or 
exit from the harbour without a greater preponderance 
of force than the Japanese appear to possess. Mean- 
while Admiral MakarofF, who left Kronstadt on 
February 16, reached Kharbin on March 4, and is 
probably now at Port Arthur, where he will have taken 
over the command from Admiral Starck, the first 
victim of Russia's inept diplomacy. Although every- 
thing seems possible m the Russian navy, concerted 
action is so plainly required by the two groups of ships 
that one must assume such action is in contemplation. 
It must be admitted, however, that it is very aifficult 
for an Englishman to follow the train of thought of the 
Russians m naval problems. Here, for instance, is the 
Kronstadtski Viestnik^ which seems to entertain the 
strangest ideas of naval strategy, and declares that 
the passive attitude of the fleet has immense importance, 
" seeing that its presence covers the right wing and rear 
of our army, as well as the railway connections with 
Port Arthur." The Russian journal claims that this 
passive attitude prevents a hostile landing east or west 
of the Liautung Peninsula, and it declares that " the 
despatch of the Russian fleet in search of the enemy 
would amount simply to leaving our coast-line at the 
mercy of the Japanese." 

It would be difficult, in a few phrases, to sum up 
more concisely all that a navy is not intended to do ; 
and, if the Kronstadt organ represents the prevailing 
opinion of the Russian councils at the capital, one can 



86 PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS 

hardly expect to see the Port Arthur squadron recover 
from its misfortunes. 

A study of the events occurring almost under our 
eyes serves to disclose the profound and unfathomable 
depths which separate a maritime from a continental 
nation in the realms of naval strategy. The ideas of 
maritime war and the uses of a war fleet conveyed by 
the passage quoted from the Russian journal are the 
absolute antithesis of everything that has been thought 
and written and preached in England and America for 
the last twenty years. These Russian ideas belong to 
the potamic stage of the naval art ; we knew that Russia 
had not reached the oceanic conception, but we had no 
reason to suppose that she had not thought out for 
herself some intermediate stage which might be termed 
thalassic. It would seem that we were too sanguine. 
The difference between the British theory and that of 
the Kronstadtski Viestnik is more than a mere qtiereUe 
d^ecole ; it is a frindamental divergence of spirit, principle, 
and action. Current events, indeed, supply a revelation 
of the superiority of British methods, and serve to 
render us deeply sensible of what we owe to the brilliant 
gifts of a few men of talent, to the support of the press, 
and to the patriotism of people and Parliament in our 
modern naval regeneration. 

One may, with some confidence, leave contemporary 
history to prove or refute the thesis of the Russian naval 
organ by the logic of accomplished facts. 




i 



o 

3 

m 
o 

i 
< 




< 



CHAPTER IX ^ 

RUSSIAN IDEAS UPON THINGS 
JAPANESE 

If General Sakharoff, chief of the Russian General 
Staff and Minister of War ad interim^ is correctly 
reported by the representative of the Figaro^ we can 
only conclude that the Russian War Office is preparing 
for its country very serious disillusions. The general 
puts down the Japanese active army at 156,000 men, 
considers the reserve formations of little account, and 
does not believe that Japan can place more than 200,000 
men in line of battle. Nevertheless, he thinks Russia 
must endeavour to assemble 400,000 at least, which is 
certainly a compliment to Japan, and, when asked 
whether the transport of such numbers will not take 
time, replies airily that it will take months, and adds 
that it does not matter. 

This debonair Minister must be a refreshing per- 
sonage to meet amid the prevailing gloom and 
uncertainty at St, Petersburg, but his optimistic views 
are the reverse of convincing. He does not appear to 
possess, or, at all events, he does not disclose, that 
mtimate acquaintance with the mihtary resources of 
Japan which one would expect from a man in his position, 
and he appears to undervalue the numbers of the 
Japanese army in a manner that would be considered 
unpardonable in a man of infinitely less exalted rank. 
We cannot presume to hope that General Sakharoff has 

' Tke Timetf, March 12, 1904. 
87 



88 RUSSIAN IDEAS ON THINGS JAPANESE 

condescended to take warning from the brief account of 
the Japanese army which appeared in the columns of 
The Times on December 24 last, but we may call 
his attention to a very careful summary of Japanese 
resources which the official organ of the French General 
Staff has recently published, since this source will not 
be suspected of any bias other than the desire to arrive 
at the truth. 

The February number of the Revue Mi/itaire de 
VEtranger gives the strength of the mobilised active 
army of Japan with its reserves as 7,900 officers and 
381,800 other ranks, vnth 70,000 horses, and, adding 
the figures for the depot and territorial armies, shows 
that the mobilisable resources of the Japanese army 
figure up to 520,000 men, 101,000 horses, and 1,868 
guns. 

It is, therefore, a little unkind of the Russian 
Minister of War to ask a Frenchman to believe that a 
staff which, despite all the episodes of the past few 
years, remains at the head of scientific research, has 
been culpable of such gross errors of calculation. 

Not, indeed, that General Sakharoff surprises us, 
since there has not been any sign as yet on the Russian 
side that the tremendous problem confronting the 
nation has been considered with the requisite skill, or 
science, or intelligence. It is worth all this and more, 
since there has perhaps never been any campaign which 
demanded more imperiously the steady application of 
the best brains an army or a nation could produce in 
order to marshal all the facts and compute all the 
intricate factors of time, distance, and numbers. From 
the Russian side it is, or should be, pre-eminently a 
business calculation ; it is a staff exercise of a desper- 
ately involved and complex character, demanding not 
only the acme of nice calculation and adjustment, but 
the acme of exact performance on the part of half a 
dozen great departments of State — Army, Navy, Finance, 
Railways, Interior, and Foreign Affairs — and unless 
every wheel of these several administrations works 



RUSSIA'S ARGUMENTS 89 

smoothly and perforins its allotted task, success is not 
only difficult but beyond hope. 

One does not answer questions in the multiplication 
table by airy generalities, nor solve abstruse questions 
by saying, " Yes, it will take months, but what does it 
matter ? " It matters a great deal, since time lost in 
war can never be retrieved. Distance one can regain, 
within limits, by a forced march, but time never. It 
must be confessed that one may search the Russian 
journals from cover to cover without finding any serious 
recognition of the gravity of the operations upon which 
Russia has embarked. " Russia," says the army mouth- 
piece, the Russki Invalid, " can find no satisfactory 
issue out of the present war save in Japan itself." The 
statement, as an enunciation of a truism, is unexception- 
able, but as a step towards the desired end it does not 
carry one far. 

The general public in Russia argues even more 
simply. Is not Russia the greatest Continental Power 
on earth? Are we not 180 millions? Have we not 
four million armed men ? How, then, can we ever be 
defeated? "Q. E. D." say the Russians— but Euclid 
would have concluded otherwise. 

No one, in England, certainly, has ever doubted the 
measurement of the superficial area of Russia or the 
numbers of her population or of her army. No one has 
ever seriously doubted that, taken as a whole, Russia is 
a solid block, and in England we yield to none in our 
admiration of Russian valour, constancy, and patriotism. 
But none of these assets or virtues are in question to- 
day. The question is how Russia, 5,000 miles from the 
Pacific, with the sea closed and a single line of rail as 
her sole means of communication, proposes to place and 
keep in the field an army capable of defeating half a 
million or more Japanese, well-armed and organised on 
scientific principles, close to their own country and 
backed by a patriotic population of nearly 50 millions 
of people. How is the Russian camel to pass through 
the eye of the Trans-Siberian needle? The Russian 



90 RUSSIAN IDEAS ON THINGS JAPANESE 

solution is to expatiate on the size of the camel's hump, 
ignoring the fact that the larger the hump the less the 
chance for the camel and the greater the strain on the 
eye of the needle. Accepting General SakharofF's state- 
ment that 400,000 men will be placed in the field, we 
should be disposed to agree with him on one point — 
namely, that their concentration will take months. 

No one can pretend to make an accurate estimate of 
the rendement of the Trans-Siberian without having all 
the data at disposal, together with frequent reports of 
the condition of the traffic at Lake Baikal, and through- 
out the line from day to day. But, judging from such 
information as we possess, it seems doubtful whether 
400,000 Russians can be put in the field in East Asia 
much before the end of the year, and when the naviga- 
tion closes again on the Amur, at the end of the 
autumn, it is more than doubtful whether this army 
can be properly supplied unless the traffic on the railway 
can be doubled at least. There are plenty of sheep in 
Mongolia, and there is corn in Manchuria, while the 
millet-stalks are good enough provender for horses ; 
but an army 400,000 strong, and constantly engaged, 
requires, as we have lately had good occasion to learn, 
an immense stock of supphes and stores of all kinds, let 
alone fuel for the engines, for warming each carriage 
in the winter, and for keeping the ships in condition 
to fight. 

No one, in Japan certainly, believes that it is 
materially possible for Russia to keep an army of this 
strength in Manchuria, the conditions being as they are, 
and the entire military poUcy of the last ten years in 
Japan has aimed at making a certainty of the defeat of 
Russia, taking into consideration not only what Russian 
force there was in East Asia, but what reinforcements 
could be brought up and fed after war was declared. 
The Japanese calculations may prove to have been 
right or wrong, but, such as they are, they represent 
the reasoned opinion of the best men in the country. 
Japan has had this single national object before her for 



RUSSIA'S STRANGE VIEWS 91 

ten years, to the exclusion of almost every other serious 
interest ; and when the hour struck, and the period of 
national reorganisation was completed, the inevitable 
war began. 

To-day, March 12, General Kuropatkin leaves the 
capital for the front, and, judging by tne time taken by 
Admiral MakarofF to reach his destination, the General 
Commanding-in-Chief should reach Mukden before the 
end of the month. So far as one can gather from the 
echoes which reach I^ondon of the views of Kuropatkin 
and his staff, the Japanese force at Pin^ang is not 
regarded as a serious army of operations ; it is thought 
that only 40,000 men have been landed in Korea, and 
that the Pingyang troops are only intended to act as a 
containing force, to cover Korea and hold the Russians 
on the Valu. " If the Japanese cross the Yalu," 
declares Colonel Vannovsky, late Military Attache at 
Tokio, "it will be only to satisfy public opinion in 
Tokio." As to the main army of Japan, it is thought 
that this is still in Japanese ports, ana that its onset is 
deterred by the dread of the " fleets in being." Such 
are the strange views which prevail in Russia's capital at 
the opening of one of the most momentous campaigns 
of her history. 



CHAPTER X 

JAPAN'S STRATEGICAL PROBLEM 

When the preliminary operations now in progress are 
concluded, and the Japanese are firmly established on 
the mainland, a strategical problem of the utmost 
importance and complexity will claim attention. If 
the Russians have decided to fall back upon Kharbin 
and there await the assembly of an army " worthy of 
the dignity and might of Russia" before moving forward 
to drive the enemy into the sea, the question arises, 
What will be the best course for the Japanese to 
pursue? It is the turning point of the war, and 
weighty results attend upon resolves. 

Accepting the estimate of the Peking correspondent 
of The TivieSy which has secured the general adhesion 
of the best authorities in Europe, that there were not 
more than a nominal strength of 150,000 Russian troops 
available at the outbreak of war east of Lake Baikal, 
we must first see what strength the Russian field army 
will stand at after satisfying the necessary requirements 
of garrisons and railway defence. Port Arthur a short 
time ago held an estimated garrison of 25,000 men, while 
there must be not less than 10,000 men of the navy 
within the fortress. It is therefore questionable whether 
the Russian military authorities would care to increase 
the garrison remaining to any great extent. Vladi- 
vostok will not be safe with a smaller garrison than 
20,000 men, since it will be open to attack in force 
from seaward when the ice clears off; therefore the two 

92 



NECESSARY DEDUCTIONS 98 

fortresses absorb at least 45,000 men of the army of East 
Asia. 

A withdrawal to Kharbin reduces the length of 
railway to be protected to an approximate 1,000 miles 
firom the Trans- Baikal territory by Khailar and Kharbin 
to Vladivostok. The necessary guard for the line must 
be dependent upon the nature and frequency of the 
attacks to which it becomes exposed when the Japanese 
preparations for wrecking it begin to mature ; but thirty 
men per mile throughout is a moderate estimate for 
efficient protection, on the assumption that strong posts 
would be maintained at the chief bridges and stations 
and the line only patrolled in places where damage 
done could easily be repaired. There are, besides, many 
obligatory garrisons to be maintained in the chief towns 
of Manchuria, just as there are in India in time of war ; 
but if we put against this drain the volunteers and 
colonists, who would be placed in line at a moment 
of crisis, we may assume that the one will balance the 
other. Lastly, there is the deduction to be made for 
non-effectives owing to sickness and other causes, which 
would probably mount up to a high figure under the 
climatic conditions prevailing, and could be safely put 
at ten per cent. These deductions would reduce the 
field strength eventually available by 90,000 men, and 
would have lowered the strength of the field army to 
60,000 men on February 8. 

From Niuchwang, the natural advanced sea-base of 
the Japanese, to Kharbin, the distance is roughly 400 
miles, and in view of the inferiority of the roads and of 
the small prospect of the immediate usefulness of the 
railway, a great army would take at least seven weeks 
to reach Kharbin if it encountered no opposition. 
Allowing, for the purpose of the argument, another 
fortnight firom the present date for the assembly of 
the Japanese army at Niuchwang, Kharbin could not 
be reached until the middle of May. 

The next question is what strength this army must 
be to engage the Russians with a reasonable prospect of 



94 JAPAN'S STRATEGICAL PROBLEM 

success ; or, in other words, how many additional troops 
can the Russians bring up between February 8 and 
May 14, a period of nearly fourteen weeks ? 

According to the calculations of the Militdr- 
IVochefiblatt^ and on the basis of seven trains a day, 
the figure would be 188,000, but this estimate is 
excessive, since six trains a day are unlikely to be 
surpassed under present conditions, and a proportion 
of these must be devoted to supplies and material of 
war ; if we allow that 800 men reach Kharbin daily we 
shall probably be reasonably liberal. Presuming that 
the despatch of reinforcements began a month before 
the outbreak of war, this would mean a reinforcement 
of nearly 76,000 men, which, joined to the 60,000 
already available, would give a field army of nearly 
140,000 Russians by the middle of May. In order, 
therefore, to make sure of victory at Kharbin, and in 
view of the fact that she might have to carry out costly 
attacks against entrenched positions and execute con- 
currently a number of secondary operations, Japan 
must be in a position to place 250,000 combatants at 
this point by the middle of May, and if the effort is 
above her strength, or the result of the first actions 
proves that a larger force is required, she would be 
wiser to refi-ain from embarking upon the adventure. 

The alternative line of advance, from some point on 
the coast near Vladivostok, is slightly shorter, but the 
railway terminates in the Russian fortress, the country 
is more difficult, the communications bad, less aid and 
fewer supplies would be obtained from the native popu- 
lation on the line of march, while the siege of Port 
Arthur is not covered by the operations of the field 
army as it is by an advance from the side of Niuchwang. 
If Japan can leave a force to invest or besiege Port 
Arthur, detail troops to guard the communications 
on the main line of advance, and still deploy 250,000 
combatants at Kharbin within seven weeks' time, the 
enterprise is not absolutely forbidden, considered as a 
stroke isolated from after consequences. A serious 



RUSSIAN ESTIMATES 95 

breakdown on the Russian railway from any cause, 
or a success in the field entailing a disaster to the 
Russian arms, would diminish the difficulties in pro- 
portion to the success achieved, but neither can be 
calculated upon in the establishment of the plan of 
operations. 

The estimate of 140,000 men for the Russian field 
army by the middle of May is necessarily only an approxi- 
mation. The Russian estimates, generally based upon a 
total absence of all serious consideration of the elements 
of time and space, suggest a far higher figure ; on the 
other hand, Japanese opinion, so far as it can be 
fathomed, regards with the utmost suspicion even 
moderate calculations of the Russian numbers and of 
the troop-carrying capacity of the Trans-Siberian, and, 
starting with the assumption that the Russian army 
east of Lake Baikal was not more than 100,000 when 
war broke out, would credit Kharbin with the arrival of 
only 400 men a day. But, granted that the Japanese 
are the best judges of matters that concern theu* very 
existence, it must be declared that such estimate is 
dangerously optimistic, and that our allies will risk 
much if they refuse to assume that in seven weeks' 
time they must be prepared to deal with a Russian 
army of 140,000 men, as well as the garrison of Vladi- 
vostok. If contact with the Russian field army takes 
place earlier or later than the date named a correspond- 
ing decrease or increase in the numbers will naturally 
follow. The actual dates here given are only for 
purposes of calculation. 

There are, of course, numerous other elements which 
enter into the problem. In every campaign, or at least 
in the greater number of modern instances, the first 
combats afford proof of some moral or material advan- 
tage on one side or the other which has not been 
reckoned with before contact Until the result of the 
first battle on land has been decided it is not possible to 
say whether the military aptitudes of the Japanese, and 
the lessons taught them by their former instructors 



96 JAPAN'S STRATEGICAL PROBLEM 

from France and Germany, give promise of such 
success on land as the navy has won at sea by close 
adherence to British methods. So far as the campaign 
has gone there has been nothing to show that the 
Japanese is inferior as a fighting man to the Russian ; 
let us, for the moment, limit ourselves to that. 

If the first actions on land display a marked 
superiority on one side or the other, then we may 
have to recast our ideas. Napoleon, in 1815, counted 
one Frenchman the equal of one Englishman, but also 
the equal of two Prussians, Belgians, Dutchmen, or 
Germans, and on this valuation based his plan. It is 
not a point upon which the modern German com- 
mentator upon the Waterloo campaign dilates at 
length, but such as it is, and for what it is worth, 
it stands on record. If we find that one Russian equals 
two Japanese, or vice versa, then naturally the question 
of what 140,000 Russians correspond to in terms of 
Japanese units must be faced, and the result be 
embodied in the remaining velocity of the Japanese 
missile at Kharbin, or wherever the Russians elect to 
stand at the date named. 

The Japanese should beware of becoming intoxicated 
by their naval successes, and should view the military 
situation with the utmost calm. They should remember 
Napoleon's advice to the most famous army of modern 
times — " II faut marcher avec prudence. Les Russes 
ne sont pas encore entam^s, ils savent aussi attaquer " — 
and they should consider that message as a warning to 
themselves. A great military empire is on its mettle ; 
the Uves, the reputations, the fortunes of every Russian, 
from the highest to the humblest, are at stake. In- 
credible exertions will be made to retrieve the situation ; 
the Russian is a stout fighter, he has great traditions, 
and is not disheartened by defeat. The Japanese appear 
to have the game in their hands if they keep their heads 
cool and their ambitions within bounds. An advance 
upon Kharbin is a serious military risk unless the 
Japanese can bring 250,000 combatants into line 400 



MAHAN'S ADVICE 97 

miles fix>in the sea within seven weeks, and an in- 
creasingly larger number at later dates; a defeat here 
spells disaster. 

But the Japanese have read their Mahan ; they must 
know the pr^nant words with which he advises a mari- 
time Power to " grasp firmly some vital chord of the 
enemy's conmiunications and so force him to fight there," 
and they will surely perceive that if the fortune of war 
places Korea, the Liautung Peninsula, and V^ladivostok 
m their hands, the vital chord of Russian East Asia 
is severed, and that Russia must fight on ground of 
Japanese choosing or not at all. 

In a combat between the elephant and the shark, 
if the elephant enters the water and suffers for it, that 
is no reason why the shark should begin to flounder 
inland in pursuit. A prudent strategy would not launch 
the army of an island empire into the heart of a conti- 
nent ; it would not play into the enemy's hands and 
abandon all the advantages of position. 

It will be objected, the aim of Japan is to oust 
Russia from Manchuria and replace China, the lawfiil 
owner, in possession : how can this object be attained 
without ejecting Russia from Manchuria manu militari ? 
But the real question is, Will the presence of 200,000 
victorious Japanese at Kharbin compel Russia to make 
peace and abandon the contest? There is nothing 
whatever to show that it will, and there is every reason, 
on military grounds, to think that it will not. Kharbin, 
insignificant in itself, is the Moscow of East Asia, and 
all the lessons of Moscow apply. The greatest possible 
success at Kharbin, even entailing the annihilation of 
the Russian army, would settle nothing ; it would 
simply mean that so many hundred miles further west 
a larger army would be collected, and that a fresh 
advance would be made the next year, or the year after, 
when Russia was ready. There could be no hope, within 
any reasonable time, of establishing China in Manchuria 
in any posture to withstand the shock of a few Russian 
battalions ; therefore the alternative before Japan would 

7 



98 JAPAN'S STRATEGICAL PROBLEM 

be the maintenance, for ten years, of a great army in 
Manchuria, or a retirement with infinite loss of prestige 
and nothing of permanent value gained by the incursion. 

Japan can never hope to attain to that position of 
unquestioned military pre-eminence over Russia which 
England attained in the fourteenth century over France. 
So great was our superiority that, when the Duke of 
Lancaster set out to march through France from north 
to south in 1878, the most trusty councillors of Charles V. 
— namely, de Clisson, the Duke of Anjou, even the 
doughty Constable du Guesclin himself — ^advised that 
the enemy should not be fought, since " the English 
have been so fortunate that they think they cannot be 
defeated; and in battle they are the most confident 
people in the world, for the more blood they see, whether 
their own or the enemy's, the more eager they are for 
the fray." Yet what remains? Not one shred of 
French territory in our possession, for the simple reason 
that, given rival races of equal value and solidarity, with 
reasonably proportioned populations, the permanent 
domination of a continent by an island is against reason, 
against nature, and against sense. 

If Port Arthur, Korea, and Vladivostok fell into 
Japanese hands, the dominion of Russia in East Asia 
is ended. Its raison (TStre vanishes, since the outlet 
upon the sea is lost. Established at these three points, 
the Japanese can make themselves so strong that, so 
long as they retain command of the sea and hold their 
army in leash, they can consider their position inexpugn- 
able. Port Arthur in Japanese hands is unassailable 
by land ; Korea can be defended for the greater part by 
a chain of defensive works across the 100 miles of the 
narrowest part of the peninsula on the principle of Torres 
Vedras ; even if Vladivostok cannot be held indefinitely 
against the might of Russia, which remains to be proved, 
it can be stalemated and rendered useless by the occu- 
pation of the islands commanding the entrance to the 
port. 

Here, then, is the vital chord severed, and here must 



1812 REVERSED 99 

Russia fight, 5,000 miles from her true base, and with 
every moral and material disadvantage, or not fight at 
all. It is 1812 reversed, and it is Russia that is cursed 
with all the manifold disadvantages of Napoleon s fatal 
ambition. The Japanese army remains intact, the nation 
unspent, and take what course Russia may, she remains 
exposed to an offensive return, along all the wide frontage 
of the sea, by the concentrated weight of her enemy's 
arms. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE CHINESE FACTOR 

A REVIEW of the military situation in the Far East 
affords such a wide field for inquiry and criticism that 
one would willingly restrict oneself to the combatants 
and the events of the war drama as they occur, and not 
seek to enter upon the discussion of a great number of 
subsidiary questions which do not as yet come within 
the four corners of the operations in progress, and are 
somewhat ultra crepidam of a military critic. The case 
of China, momentarily in the background, may, how- 
ever, at any moment come to the front, and no one who 
watches the trend of events in the Far East can view 
without misgiving the gradual and disquieting approach 
of a Chinese army towards the probable theatre of 
impending hostilities and the arrival of the Chinese 
Peiyang squadron at Chifu. 

We may all be prepared to admit that, if the ambi- 
tions of Japan should unfortunately prompt her to 
overrun Manchuria and penetrate far into the continent 
of Asia, she is bound to organise China if she can, in 
order to seek peace and ensue it by having the weight 
of the Chinese masses at her back. 

Nevertheless, on strictly military grounds Japan 
would be well advised to limit her ambitions, and not 
seek to penetrate into the recesses of Asia in chase of a 
receding will-o'-the-wisp which would inevitably land 
her into difficulties. 

If the extreme importance of the Chinese factor be 

100 



JAPAN'S JUST CAUSE 101 

admitted, does not this admission rather strengthen than 
weaken the case of those who recommend Japan to go 
warily and limit her ambitions ? The military advantage 
of the assistance of China is certainly considerable, more 
by reason of her resources than by that of her military 
strength, but the political dangers involved in her inter- 
vention may prove at once disastrous to neutrals and 
absolutely fatal to the legitimate aspirations of Japan. 

Thanks to her courage, but still more thanks to her 
prudence and moderation, the cause of Japan is almost 
universally popular to-day in every nation that calls 
itself free. If Japan encouraged and abetted China to 
join in the war and raised the standard of Asia for the 
Asiatics, which is simply a notice to quit served upon 
every nation owning possessions east of Suez, she would 
infSBdlibly lose the good opinion of the world, which may 
be, and often is, swayed by sentiment, but in the long 
run is directed by hard material interests and the instincts 
of self-preservation. 

The interposition of China in the present war could 
hardly take place without grave danger to the persons, 

Sroperties, and interests of all nations directly or in- 
irectly concerned in the trade of the Far East, since 
the mass of the Chinese do not discriminate between one 
European and another. If the war were unsuccessful, 
failure might be visited upon unoffending nationalities 
for the sake of revenge ; if successful, pretensions might 
be put forward which would coerce Europe and America 
into compact opposition : in neither case would the 
cause of Japan profit, and no nation can afford to lose 
twice the fruits of victory. Japan is not now, nor can 
she ever hope to be, sufficiently strong to run counter 
to the interests of Europe and America. Fighting as 
she does to-day in a just cause and with the expressed 
intention of limiting her ambitions to legitimate aims, 
she attracts to herself the goodwill of the world. Joined 
with China, she mortgages her future to the good 
behaviour of a vain, pretentious, and undisciplined race, 
whose capacity for mischief is only limited by its military 



102 THE CHINESE FACTOR 

impotence, absence of public spirit, and want of power 
to do harm. 

When Mr. Hay's proposals fell like a bombshell in 
the diplomatic dovecote, there was a great fluttering 
among the doves. In view of the previous action of the 
United States, Russia was suspicious of the motive, 
while the friends of Japan only saw her deprived of an 
eventual and valuable coadjutor. There was hesitation 
and demur. History may say that the initiative of the 
United States was the most remarkable act of states- 
manship of the opening years of the century, and let us 
hope it may add that it saved the world from one of the 
gravest dangers on the political horizon. Reflection 
will surely induce all men of sense to agree that not 
only was Mr. Hay in the right, but that, in the interests 
of the world's peace, neutraUty should be imposed upon 
China, even though the ultima ratio has to be resorted 
to in the process. Neither of the combatants would have 
any reason to complain, since one would be saved from a 
danger that is obvious and imminent, and the other from 
an equal danger, though one superficially less obvious and 
more remote. China has, indeed, made a declaration of 
neutrality, which was published in the Peking Gazette 
on February 12 last ; but it is distinctly stated in that 
document that the enforcement of the rules of neutrality 
will be impossible in Manchuria, and the reservation may 
serve to cover designs at present unavowed. 

In the true interests of all the nations of the world, 
without exception, the intervention of China in the war 
must be prevented. Japan, it is almost certain, could 
have had China as an ally for the asking. Instead — and 
it is the best proof of her sense and perspicacity — she 
has counselled moderation, has welcomea Mr. Hay's 
note, and has done all in her power to restrict hostilities 
and to narrow the issue. It would be most improper 
and unfair not to allow Japan full credit for this far- 
seeing and statesman-like decision. But she can hardly 
be expected to interpose and fight China, if China plunges 
recklessly into the struggle on her side ; that is too much 



PRINCIPLES OF "ABSOLUTE WAR "108 

to ask of any nation at grips with a powerful enemy, 
and, if Chinese rifles go off by themselves when the 
struggle on land begins, European diplomacy, feeble, 
vain, and secretive, will alone be to blame, and must be 
held responsible for all the consequences. 

By limiting her ambitions and the scope of her 
operations Japan secures a double benefit : first, the con- 
tmued sympathy of the world, which is the best trump 
in her hand ; secondly, security from exhaustion, which 
is the greatest danger any Power has to face that 
challenges Russia on land. The acceptance of Chinese 
aid must inevitably tend to deprive Japan of the world's 
sympathy, and the immediate military advantages to be 
gained by the alliance are insuflicient to make amends 
for the loss. Successfril war alone can save Japan from 
extinction as an independent Power, and permit her to 
return to the happier paths of peace and progress. How 
can this success be best securea ? 

There are some who, drawing their inspirations from 
the principles of what they call " absolute war," contend 
that the enemy's main army must be sought and defeated, 
and that a decisive defeat of the Russians at Kharbin 
will settle the campaign, and make it impracticable for 
Russia to renew the conflict with hope of success. It is 
the master error of Napoleon, who calculated in pre- 
cisely similar fashion that after his Borodino and the 
occupation of Moscow — which was " absolute war " with 
a vengeance — Russia would make peace. Russia, how- 
ever, did nothing of the kind, and in a moment all this 
great conception fell to the ground with a crash, burying 
the Grand Army in its ruins. It is certainly of the first 
importance for Japan to crush the enemy's field army 
should it offer the opportunity desired, and if those who 
would prompt Japan to penetrate into the heart of Asia 
are prepared to tell us that Russia has lost her tenacity 
and her courage, and will sign an ignominious peace after 
the loss of a single army and before her vitals are so 
much as touched, then no one could have any military 
objection to urge to a march on Kharbin with all its 



104 THE CHINESE FACTOR 

consequences. But no one is justified in making 
such assumption, which is opposed to all the logic of 
facts and the lessons of history. 

The real question is, What limits should Japan set 
to her military ambitions in order to enable her to out- 
last Russia in a long war of endurance ? If we allow, 
for the sake of argument, that there are 50,000 Russians 
in the field army south of Mukden, and that in May 
there will be 150,000 Russians in the field at Khar bin, 
naturally the attack and defeat of the 150,000 would 
be dictated by the principles of " absolute war " and of 
common sense, if success had all the promise held 
out by some writers of talent. Wipe off the 150,000 
Russians — they will take some wiping — and allow at 
Kharbin 200,000 or 250,000 victorious Japanese in their 
place, and how much nearer are we to the solution of 
the problem? We should simply see the beginning 
of the concentration of 500,000 Russians at Lake Baikal, 
and "absolute war" would require their defeat, as it 
would subsequently that of 1,000,000 Russians on the 
Ural Mountains, and of 8,000,000 at Moscow, and even 
then we are no further advanced than was Napoleon, 
who failed, though he crossed the Niemen with 868,000 
of the finest troops in the world. 

The principles of "absolute war" are very fine 
things in their way, but they are subservient to the 
real end of all warfare — namely, the achievement of 
national aims and the imposition of the national will 
upon the enemy. There is no apparent reason why 
this war should ever terminate except through the 
military, financial, and national exhaustion of one or 
other of the combatants; and, if this be so, then the 
principles which Japan must follow to succeed are those 
of concentration of strength and conservation of energy, 
making war too difficult and too onerous for Russia to 
continue with hope of final victory. It may be neces- 
sary, although there are other alternatives, for Japan 
to clear the air by the occupation of Mukden and the 
defeat of the Russian army there concentrated, since 



DISTANT EXPEDITIONS 105 

this force is in fact, though not in name, the army of 
relief for Port Arthur, and the attack on this fortress, 
save by a coup de main^ cannot be securely prosecuted 
so long as an army of relief remains within call. But 
Mukden should be the limit of Japan's military ambitions 
in a first campaign, and the rest of the short summer 
season will be fully occupied by the attack on Port 
Arthur and Vladivostok and the organisation of the 
territory in occupation, so that the next Russian advance 
may be brought up against impenetrable barriers. 

It is the principles followed by her enemy in the 
Crimean War, rather than in 1812, that Russia has to 
dread. No one would venture to compare the soaring 
genius of the god of modem war with the wit of the 
groundlings wno planned the attack on Sevastopol. 
No one would compare the brilliant host which crossed 
the Niemen with all the pomp and circumstance of war 
with that heterogeneous, ill-found expedition which 
landed in the Crimea, devoid of everythmg that makes 
an army formidable, save its splendid and oft-tried 
native courage. Yet this succeeded where the other 
failed ; the Crimean War left Russia broken, exhausted, 
and constrained to si^ a disastrous peace, while 1812 
made her the first military Power in Europe, Napoleon 
a fugitive, and his army a wreck. It is not with 
impunity that one ranges the resistless forces of nature, 
distance, and climate in the ranks of one's foes. As 
aUies these forces are invaluable; as enemies they are 
fatal. In the long history of war* few great distant 
expeditions have succeeded, and most have ended by 
the ruin of the army and the country embarking upon 
them. If this has been true of dynastic wars and pro- 
fessional armies, how much more true will it not be in 
future wars between nations in arms ? 

> **M,** wrote to The Times from Oxford on March 28 to point out that 
this historical generalisation had been anticipated by Thucydides in the words 
placed by him in the mouth of the Syracusan orator Hemiocrates, 415 b.c. : 
^' Rarely have great expeditions, whettier Hellenic or barbarian, when sent &r 
from home, met with success." The coincidence, writes "M.," is a striking 
illoatration of the truth that the principles of strategy are the same in all ages. 



CHAPTER XII ^ 

AMPHIBIOUS POWER 

When an insular state launches forth its army against 
a continental Power after securing the command of the 
sea, it retains to the last the faculty of changing the 
point of attack. There is no such liberty upon a land 
m)ntier. The initial line of deployment of a European 
army is something not far removed from a fixed 
quantity. We know, or we can easily learn by investi- 
gation, where each army corps is located, what lines of 
railway lead towards the frontier, and what railway 
stations have been organised for detraining in the zone 
of concentration. Comparing all these data with the 
statistics of mobilisation, the situation of the enemy, 
and the traditions of national strategy on one side and 
the other, it becomes an easy matter for any skilled 
observer, thoroughly acquainted with the forces in 
presence, to map out the projected deployment with a 
reasonable degree of precision, and to say how many 
men will become available upon any given date subse- 
quent to the issue of the order of mobUisation. 

Once all the huge and interdependent machinery for 
the movement and supply of a couple of million men 
has been set in motion, there is no power remaining for 
a sudden change of plan, unless chaos and confusion are 
to supersede order and regularity. The only Hberty 
remaining is that of detraining troops at a greater or 
less distance from the frontier, and even this Uberty is 

> The Titnes, March 29, 1904. 
106 



INVASION BY SEA 107 

only retained by a Power which has made antecedent 
provision for such operation by the creation of a series 
of detraining stations, ^chelonned in rear of the frontier 
line, and provided with dep6ts and magazines. Thus, 
when war breaks out in Europe, each nation knows in 
advance, with an accuracy that approaches the mathe- 
matical, where its enemy will be found, and, approxi- 
mately, in what strength during each day that succeeds 
mobihsation. It is only when one side or the other 
advances, and the first collisions occur, that we enter 
once more into the normal atmosphere of war, that of 
the unknown and the unexpected. 

Very different is the case of an island state which 
sends forth its armies by way of the sea. Everything 
that the army requires is contained within the broad 
flanks of the fleet of transports, everything is there that 
the continental army finds at its advanced bases ; and, 
at the will of the directing hand, the whole armada 
alters course and appears thousands of miles from where 
its presence has been anticipated, carrying alarm and 
connision into the ranks of the enemy. 

The threat of invasion by way of the sea is the most 
terrible weapon in the armoury of national strategy, if 
its use is properly understood and the weapon deftly 
wielded. Ten thousand men at sea may cause ten times 
their number to march and counter-march upon the 
continental territory of the enemy, and yet fail to meet 
an impending blow veiled behind the gloom of the 
illimitable and trackless wastes of the ocean and secure 
in the protection of a dominant navy. There is almost 
nothing it may not aspire to gain, since superior 
mobility, and the irresistiole power accruing from the 
initiative and surprise, dictate the law to the adversary, 
and compel him to follow events with humility rather 
than control them. Multiply the armada until the 
armed strength carried across the sea equals or surpasses 
the force of the enemy, and there is almost nothing 
within reach of its long arm that this amphibious force 
cannot aspire to win. 



108 AMPHIBIOUS POWER 

The day following Admiral Vireniuss departure 
from Suez with the Russian Mediterranean squadron 
for the Far East, Japan suddenly broke off relations, 
and prepared to act in defence of her threatened 
interests. Three weeks earlier Russia had been clearly 
warned in The Times that the limits of Japanese 
patience would be overstepped if this squadron was 
ordered eastward ; for it was impossible, at the point 
that negotiations had reached, to expect Japan to allow 
a naval force to assemble which might conceivably be 
capable of wresting from her the command of the sea. 

The war broke out two years too soon for the 
Russian cause, and two months too soon for Japan. 
The losses sustained during the winter campaign against 
China had caused the Japanese generals to become 
thoroughly conversant with the conditions of a campaign 
in East Asia, and they were not willing to expose their 
men to hardships which could be avoided. An army was 
sent out to Korea to seize the peninsula and surprise 
the intriguers at Seoul, and carried out its arduous task, 
despite the severity of the weather, with entire success. 
Korea was overawed, and the whole fabric of Russian 
intrigue in the peninsula fell to the ground like a house 
of cards. But the mass of the troops remained at home, 
prevented by the rigours of the climate from immediately 
following up the stunning blow delivered by the navy. 
The ensuing delay was favourable to the Russian cause. 
Recovering from the first surprise, the Russians had 
time to turn round ; they repaired some of their ships, 
and placed their army in a position to resist. Tne 
Trans-Siberian Railway was worked at full pressure, and 
during the first few weeks stood the strain reasonably well ; 
thougnts of flight changed into thoughts of resistance. 

When the professional soldiers of Europe turned 
their attention to the Far Eastern theatre, they were 
not slow to recognise the importance of Niuchwang ; 
one after another, like a pack of hounds on a hot scent, 
they took up the cry, until the arrival of the Japanese 
at Niuchwang is expected with almost as implicit 



A CHANGED SITUATION 109 

confidence as that of the Dover packet at Calais pier. 
The Russians became impressed with this remarkable 
unanimity, hurried down train after train to increase the 
numbers of the insignificant army which was assembled 
in the Liau Valley at the outbreak of the war. Although 
the precise figures are not known, it is probable that 
there will be not less than 60,000 to 70,000 men south 
of Mukden by March 25, while there are 25,000 at 
Port Arthur — ^that is to say, that the greater part of the 
available field army of Manchuria is now so placed that 
it can resist attack from the side of Niuchwang with a 
much better prospect of offering a stout resistance at 
this particular point. 

Thus the situation has changed, and things that 
were easy and advisable yesterday may be neither one 
nor the other to-dav. All the facts must be perfectly 
well known at Tokio, and the point of immediate 
interest is to discover what schemes these very intelli- 
gent islanders are hatching behind the veil of secrecy 
with which they have enshrouded themselves, and 
whether a changed situation may result in changed 
resolutions. 

What the Japanese know is that the constant 
rapping at the door of Port Arthur and the assembly 
of a Japanese army in Northern Korea, combined with 
the almost unanimous belief of the pundits that Niu- 
chwang is the objective, have caused the Russians to 
draw down the greater part of their field army into the 
Liau Valley, and to denude the rest of the theatre of 
operations. Meanwhile the mass of the Japanese army 
is intact and at liberty, while the choice of the point of 
attack remains entirely at their disposal. It is possible 
and even probable that this army will be thrown ashore 
on the Liautung Peninsula and to the north of the gulf. 
There is the advantage of concentration of effort, since 
a Japanese anny is already firmly established in Northern 
Korea, and draws nearer daily to the Yalu, while the 
main battle fleet holds Port Arthur under the menace 
of its guns. It may also be fairly argued that if the 



110 AMPHIBIOUS POWER 

Russians have drawn down their chief strength towards 
the coast it is so much to the advantage of Japan, who 
can hope to prosecute the decisive operations of the war 
within easy distance of her true base, the sea, and at 
the greatest possible distance from the Russian base — 
namely, Moscow and the heart of the Russian Empire. 

But there is no single means of advancing the 
national cause, and, in the realms of strategy, failure is 
only certain when decisions are based upon preconceived 
ideas rather than upon circumstances of the moment 
and the evidence of the senses. 

A great English historian once ^Tote of Athanasius 
that he preserved a distinct and unbroken view of a 
scene that was constantly shifting, and was thus enabled 
to seize the fleeting moment which passes by before it 
is observed by the common herd. Athanasius, it is 
evident, possessed all the requirements of an eminent 
strategist. Upon a theatre of war circumstances change 
from day to day, and on the field of battle from hour 
to hour. However good it may be to persevere with a 
bad plan rather than change it in course of execution, it 
would be folly and only proof of obstinacy, to prosecute, 
ah initioy operations designed to meet one set of con- 
ditions when accumulating evidence shows that these 
former conditions no longer exist. 

Whatever the decision may be — and the wise man 
will suspend his judgment until the Japanese have 
shown their hand in a decisive manner — there can be 
no question that the immediate interest of the moment 
for British onlookers is the recognition of the influence 
of the threat of invasion from over-sea upon the 
decisions of a continental enemy. Despite the fact that 
the main body of the Japanese army nas remained at 
home, and that only the navy and a fraction of the 
army have been employed, the Russians have radically 
changed their initial dispositions, and have been com- 

f)elled to place all their field army in movement — or, at 
east, all that remains of it after the deduction of 45,000 
good troops for the garrison of the fortresses — groping 



AN ASSET 111 

blindly in the dark and endeavouring to surprise the 
mysterious secret of the mocking sea, without, as yet, 
having any certain news of their enemy's plans. 

Let us carry forward this fact to the balance credit 
of our next national war, and retain in our memories 
that the same menace, which served Frederick and wore 
down Napoleon, is ours to command now, as ever, the 
servant of our allies and the despair of our enemies, 
given that we continue to maintain a predominant 
navy and an army suited to the special needs of our 
geographically splendid isolation. 



CHAPTER XIII ' 

THE COSSACKS 

It is a matter for regret that none of our active young 
leaders of mounted troops should have taken the trouble 
to study on the spot the most interesting race of horse- 
men in the world, the far-famed legendary Cossacks. 
Much can be learnt about them from books, but none 
of these, alas ! are in the English language. The 
writings of Starikoff, Choroschkine, Petroff, and Kras- 
noff in Russian, those of von Pettau, von Stein, and 
von Krahmer in German, together with the histories of 
Lesur, Rambaud, and Niessel in French, supply all that 
can be desired as a foundation for research. But the 
Cossacks themselves are the real and living interest, and 
the Cossack spirit is not to be learnt from books. It 
can only be assimilated by close contact with the 
Cossacks themselves, and by travel throughout those 
scattered and yet contiguous territories which reach 
from the shores of the Black Sea to the far Pacific. 

Cossack history and tradition, the military organisa- 
tion of the voiskos, and the economical statics of the 
stanitsas form an interesting study ; while, for a soldier, 
the arms, horses, and tactics are no less worthy of 
attention. 

During the present war we are likely to hear much 
of these interesting communities, since the Cossacks 
promise to supply Russia with an arm of the service 
which should prove superior to anything Japan can 

» The Timet, April 2, 1904. 
112 



THEIR SERVICE SYSTEM 118 

place in the field against them if the best regiments are 
sent to the front. It is, therefore, of practical utility to 
inquire what Cossack resources can be drawn upon for 
the purposes of an Eastern campaign. 

The word Cossack is derived from a Tartar word 
signifying bandit, and up to 1814 the Kazak lived up 
to his name. The first Cossacks took boat on the 
Dnieper, the Volga, and the Don, and settled on the 
banks of these great rivers, living by plunder and by 
the proceeds of their fishing, fighting generally on foot, 
but always remaining near their boats, which secured 
them a safe retreat m case of a reverse. 

Closely bound up with every page of Russian history, 
the Cossacks sometimes sided with the Tsars, but as 
often against them. On the accession of Peter the Great 
they formed a half circle round the southern frontiers, 
which they protected fit)m Tartar invasions, penetrating 
later into Siberia, where they became the Russian 
advanced guard against Kirghiz and Kalmucks. So long 
as these communities remained on the frontier and were 
inured to constant warfare they retained all their best 
qualities. The legends interwoven with the names of 
Mazeppa and PlatofT belong to heroic periods of Cossack 
lore, and so, too, do the deeds of the Cossacks of the 
Ukraine and Zaporogia, whose names have since passed 
away though their fame is abiding. As the Cossacks 
became more settled in their territories to the north- 
east of the Black Sea, and the confines of Russia 
marched rapidly past them towards the east, they 
became more confounded with the general population 
and less apt for war. 

The first principle of Cossack service has always been 
that, in return for a grant of land and freedom from 
taxation, every man should come out when called upon 
and bring his own horse, arms, and equipment. It is 
a system which might with advantage be appUed upon 
some of the frontiers of Britain. In practice many 
changes have been made, and the root principle is not 
one that is any longer generally respected. Many 

8 



114 THE COSSACKS 

Cossacks are too poor to provide their own horses, and 
the cost of their equipment falls upon the stanitsa, which 
is put to heavy expense and is very hard hit by an order 
of mobilisation. War, for the Cossack, is no longer a 
business that pays. 

In 1875 a radical change .was made in the old- 
established methods of Cossack service ; the regiments 
were brigaded with the regular cavalry, and their inde- 

Sendence as a fighting branch was destroyed. It is 
oubtfiil whether the change was of advantage. The 
greatest successes of the Cossacks in war, striking 
records of which we find scattered throughout the 
writings of Napoleon's generals, were due to the pre- 
servation of their particular and very unconventional 
methods of combat, which were the absolute antithesis 
of the traditions of regular cavalry. The tendency of 
late years has been to merge the Cossacks wath the rest 
of the population, and old Platoff would hardly recog- 
nise in the Cossack of to-day his unkempt warriors who 
wore down the chivalry of France. 

The Cossack voiskos still possess enormous tracts of 
territory, two-thirds of which are held in trust for the 
general community on the principle of the mir, while 
the other third belongs to the Cossack nobility, or is in 
the hands of non-Cossack peasants. The Don, Kuban, 
Terek, Ural, and Orenburg territories, all lying north- 
east of the Black Sea, are fairly compact, but those 
of Siberia, Trans-Baikal, the Pri-Amur, and Ussuri 
occupy long bands of country corresponding with the 
lines or frontiers which have in times past been com- 
mitted to Cossack guardianship. 

These eastern voiskos have been constantly engaged 
with Asiatic enemies, and have had no experience of 
regular fighting ; those furthest east have been rein- 
forced by contmgents from the Trans-Baikal territory, 
while the Ussuri Cossacks have been fortified by heavy 
drafts from the Don which have been brought round by 
sea in the Volunteer Fleet. The five voiskos which are 
most immediately concerned in the present war are those 



THEIR WAR STRENGTH 115 

of Siberia, Semiretchinsk, Trans-Baikal, Pri-Amur, and 
Ussuri. Their total population may be put down at 
about 750,000 souls besides non-Cossacks, the number 
of males of what is known as " Cossack condition " being 
some 180,000. 

The war strength of these five communities at 
present is about 25,000 men and 20,000 horses, but in 
these numbers Ussuri and Pri-Amur do not bulk largely. 
The total number of Cossacks in the same five voiskos^ 
presuming that the whole available 20 classes are called 
out, and the opoltchenie or landsturm embodied, is about 
60,000 men, but not more than 5,000 of these belong 
to the Ussuri and Pri-Amur communities. Although 
these five eastern voiskos have 800,000 horses, not a 
third are fit for service, and only 46,000 are fit for the 
saddle, of which only 4,000 are to be found in Pri-Amur 
and Ussuri. This fact is important, since it results that 
nearly all the horses in the army mobilised against Japan 
must come fix)m the west, save what can be collected 
fix)m non-Cossack districts or from China. 

These five voiskos do not represent the most important 
and efficient part of the Cossack forces, which are mainly 
in the Don and to the north of the Caucasus, with most 
of their active regiments spread out like a fan round 
Russia's south-western frontiers. Some of these, no 
doubt, can be sent east, and we have reports that regi- 
ments from the Caucasus and the Don have already 
marched ; but it must be remembered that the Cossacks 
represent the chief element in the Russian cavalry of 
the present day. They are the mainstay of internal law 
and order, while on the great plains of the west cavalry 
is for Russia what ships are for England, and the frontiers 
cannot be largely denuded of these valuable troops. 
Moreover, even if a reinforcement is required in tne 
east, the Cossack territories west of Orenburg are no 
more favourably placed to supply troops than any other 
miUtary district Even in the territories of the eastern 
voiskos it is a far cry from Lake Baikal to Port Arthur. 
One may put down the mcudmum number of Cossacks 



116 THE COSSACKS 

available for service at 50,000 men between Lake Baikal 
and the Pacific. This figure is only given as an indica- 
tion, for it is obvious that during a war in East Asia it is 
not a question of what number of men and horses Russia 
possesses, but of how many she can keep in the field. 

Experts agree that the Japanese cavalry is the weakest 

branch of the army of our ally ; 20,000 horsemen from 

India and another 20,000 from our Colonies would be 

the best military aid we could render to Japan if the 

casus fcederis were to arise. If Japan uses her horsemen 

after the prehistoric methods in vogue at Potsdam and 

Nancy, the Cossacks will probably destroy them ; but if 

the lessons of the Civil War in America and of the Boer 

War are taken as a guide, then the Japanese may be able 

to give the famous Cossack lava a rough lesson. The 

Cossacks are not to be beaten by serried ranks and classic 

charges; Napoleon tried that, and lost his cavalry without 

injuring his enemy. The tactics that vrill destroy Cossacks 

are the tactics of the Boers. To the heavy dragoon the 

Cossack appears a foe beneath contempt, with his high 

saddle, cramped seat, and sorry ill-kept nag. Yet he is 

a fine horseman after his fashion, and his pony will live 

where other horses starve. A stout heart, steady nerve, 

and the traditions of victory make him an enemy to be 

respected. Whether the Cossacks in the mass are above 

or below their reputation, time will show. It is certain 

that they have never yet been intelligently fought. 



CHAPTER XIV ' 

THE ENTANGLEMENT OF PORT 
ARTHUR 

A VERY interesting and significant piece of news was 
sent to The Times a short time ago by one of its 
Russian correspondents. General DragomirofT, it is 
said, was summoned to the councils at the Russian 
capital after the dramatic events of the first week of 
hostilities, and was consulted upon the situation in the 
Far East. He is reported to have advised the evacua- 
tion of Port Arthur, both by the navy and the army, in 
order that a greater disaster might be prevented ; and, 
though there is no chance that the advice will be 
followed, the fact that it should have been tendered by 
a man of such first-rate ability as DragomirofF is a very 
grave sign indeed. Although he has arrived at a time 
of life when he must be considered past active work in 
the field, DragomirofF remains by far the most original 
thinker in the Russian army, and one could name no 
other soldier wearing the Tsar's uniform with such keen 
perceptions or such an inborn genius for penetrating 
mto tne heart of a military question by the most direct 
road. 

It is not too much to say that the contributions of 
DragomirofF to the military literature of the last quarter 
of a century are the most valuable and refireshing 
products of his country and his time in the study of 
the art of war. Anything that DragomirofF thinks is 

> The Times, April 7, 1904. 
117 



118 ENTANGLEMENT OF PORT ARTHUR 

worth hearing; everything he says is certain to be 
expressed in the very bluntest and most homely terms. 
He is always fresh, original, direct, and fearless, and, 
though he confessedly bases his ideas of war upon 
Suvarovian tactics and maxims, he is very far indeed 
from being a representative of the old school ; and there 
is probably no other officer of the Tsar's army more 
widely read, more in touch with the latest theories, and 
more schooled in all the best traditions of the past 
masters of the art of war. 

We can quite believe that the advice tendered by 
the General, accompanied as it apparently was by some 
acid criticism upon the policy pursued by the Tsar's 
Government in the iFar East, has proved most un- 
welcome, and has, indeed, been " energetically repudi- 
ated." The question remains whether the advice offered 
was good or bad. 

If Dragomiroff was called to council, it must be 
presumed that he was made acquainted with the cir- 
cumstances, so far as they were known in the Russian 
capital ; and it is the fact of his advice having been 
given en connaissance de cause that so greatly increases 
its importance and adds to its significance. He would 
have asked to be told the time for which Port Arthur 
was provisioned, the numbers of the Russian field army 
now available in the Far East, and the number of the 
reinforcements that could be brought up month by 
month. Without these facts in his possession he could 
have expressed no opinion at all. The advice he is said 
to have tendered is compatible with only one con- 
clusion — namely, that, given the known strength of the 
Japanese army and the extreme limit of resistance of 
Port Arthur to capture, there is no reasonable chance 
of relieving the town by the action of the field army 
within the requisite hmits of time. 

It is no small thing that he asks, and part of it is 
almost beyond the power of Russia to accomplish. The 
evacuation of Port Arthur by the army is stul possible, 
though at any moment it may become impossible ; it 



DRAGOMIROFFS ADVICE 119 

entails the destruction of a vast quantity of stores, and 
probably of many heavy guns and much ammunition ; 
still, as a military act, the evacuation is feasible. But 
the navy cannot evacuate the position, not, at least, 
without a successful action with a superior force, or by 
means of a nocturnal flitting, which would have little 
more than one chance in five of success. What Drago- 
miroff demands, therefore, is the immolation of the 
Pacific squadron, whether at its moorings or in battle, 
in order that it may no longer impose upon Russia 
subsequent loss of the garrison which remains to 
guard it. 

There are probably few soldiers who have not asked 
themselves what they would do in General Kuropatkin's 
place, if confi-onted with the serious alternatives that 
present themselves. Provided Port Arthur is not 
provisioned and defended on a scale and in a manner 
to enable it to stand a siege until such moment as the 
relieving army can make sure of victory, then the advice 
of Dragomiroff, appalling as it must be for Russian 
prestige, is in trutn the lesser of two evils. 

If the naval squadron cannot escape, and must 
eventually become a wreck or a prize of Japanese 
victory, what is gained by leaving 85,000* men, with 

' The exact strength of the garrisou of Port Arthur was not definitely 
known to the public l^fore the close of the siege. The garrison consisted of 
the 4th and 7tli Divisions of £ast Siberian Rifles^ respectively commanded by 
Major-^xeneimls Fock and Kondratenko^ besides the 5th regiment of the 2nd 
DivisioD, or 27 battalions with 22,000 rifles. There were also two reserve 
battalions^ a regiment of fortress artillery, the 2nd sapper battalion, the 
Kwantting sapper company, two brigades of^ field artillery, one sortie battery, 
one 67 mm. oattery, and several units of frontier guards, or 35,000 men, 
added to some 10,000 men of the Pacific Squadron, or 45,000 in all. After 
the naval action of August 10 the naval contingent was reduced to some 
6,000 men, most of whom were eventually employed ashore. The artillery 
of the fortress included 70 field guns, and 200 guns of 25 and 10 centimetres, 
with 300 and 500 projectiles per gun respectively, exclusive of the supply 
brought in by Colonel Spiridonoff in two trains just before the investment 
was completed, llie 54C guns which fell into the hands of the Japanese 
at the sarrender doubtless included ordnance removed from vessels of the 
squadron. Major-Generai Smirnoff was the commandant of the fortress, and 
General Nikitine commanded the artillery. Lieutenaiit-General Stossel was 
commander of the troops in the Kwantung promontory, but became virtually 
goremor of the fortress when the siege b^^. 



120 ENTANGLEMENT OF PORT ARTHUR 

some 500 guns, to share in the disaster and increase the 
laurels of Japan ? 

There is, of course, a good deal to be said on the 
other side. The moral effect of the retreat of the 
garrison without firing a shot, and the destruction of 
ships, stores, and batteries, would find an echo which 
would reverberate throughout Asia and have incalculable 
consequences. By standing fast the garrison would 
hope to occupy and tie up a large part of the enemy's 
armies, and so increase the chances for the army of 
succour. It is also true that during the weeks that 
have elapsed since the advice was given the military 
position of Russia has somewhat improved. Port 
Arthur may have been better provisioned, and a re- 
spectable Russian army has been concentrated in the 
Liau Valley. But, unless (Jeneral Kuropatkin is able 
to withstand the coming onslaught of the enemy, the 
strategical problem remams unchanged, and the solution 
is only deferred. At any moment the crisis may 
become acute. 

If it be known at the Russian capital that Port 
Arthur must fall before it can be relieved — and General 
DragomirofTs advice is not susceptible of any other 
explanation — ^then, qua moral result, the disaster is £eu: 
greater to see all these men, ships, stores, and guns 
become the prize of the enemy than to see them 
removed or destroyed as part of a deliberate scheme of 
national strategy, leaving no hostages to the enemy 
save the ruins of a fortress and the wreck of a fleet. 

Nor does the topography of the fortress offer any 
hope of containing an army of larger numbers than the 
garrison if the Japanese restrict themselves to a simple 
investment. On the contrary, only a small section of 
ground has to be covered by the enemy's line of invest- 
ment, and it is probable that the Russian garrison, at a 
pinch, could be held fast by far smaller numbers than 
it can muster within the fortress. Dragomiroff 's advice 
is thus absolutely sound, subject to the premisses which 
have been named. 



WORSE THAN LADYSMITH 121 

But that a proud military empire could consent to 
such a sacrifice was not to be expected for a moment. 
For Napoleonic strokes and Napoleonic decisions the 
first requirement is Napoleon. Frederick, at Prague, 
could not decide to abandon the siege and fall on Daun 
with all his forces ; Napoleon, at Mantua, left all his 
siege works and batteries a prize to the enemy, certain 
that, if he beat the relieving army in the field, Mantua 
and all it possessed would return to him in natural 
course. 

There are also those always imponderable chances 
of war. Few men in the Russian army believe that the 
Japanese are capable of standing up to the Tsar's troops 
on a fiiir field with no favour : distance, climate, defects 
of organisation, surprises by land and sea, or the " mud of 
Poland," may all tell against the enemy, and meanwhile, 
say the Russians, if tne Japanese want Port Arthur, 
let them come and take it : why should we obligingly 

Present them with a port on the Liautung Peninsula ? 
'here was, in short, never any chance that this counsel 
of strategic perfection could secure acceptance. Never- 
theless, if the Japanese are capable of waging successful 
war on a large scale on land, as their ft-iends and 
admirers believe, and of ousting the Russians fi*om their 
strong positions in the Liau Valley, the memory of what 
might have been will recur, and Dragomiroff 's advice 
wifi be remembered. 

If General Kuropatkin is unable to resist the enemy 
and retreats to the north, it is certain that Port Arthur 
will prove an entanglement far worse than Lady smith. 
We can only repeat that the adoption of the spirit of 
1812 in the future conduct of the war against Japan is 
incompatible with the retention of Port Arthur as a 
fixed point, round which all the subsequent operations 
of the Russian field army must fatally revolve till the 
fortress falls. 



CHAPTER XV ^ 

THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

So long as a Russian ship in the Far East remains 
afloat, so long is the seal of final success wanting ; and 
the hazards of modern maritime warfare are so many 
that this is not the moment to neglect or despise the 
menace, diminished though it be, remaining from the 
uninjured fragments of the Russian squadron. 

However much the Russians may have recently 
lost sight of the first great objective of Japanese 
strategy, it is quite certain that all eyes in Japan have 
been fixed upon the Port Arthur squadron, since it 
must have been perfectly apparent to all and sundry 
in Japan that the annihilation of this squadron was a 
necessary preliminary to securing unfettered liberty of 
movement upon the mainland. Temporarily relieved 
of anxiety on this point, the Japanese can now turn 
their attention to the second objective, the defeat of the 
Russian army of operations. 

The prosecution of this enterprise has undoubtedly 
been advanced a long stage by tne events of the fatal 
18th of April. On that morning news was received at 
Port Arthur of the approach of the Japanese fleet, and 
the Russian squadron, under Admiral Makaroff*, put to 
sea to give battle. The Japanese appearing in over- 
whelming force, the Russians withdrew towards their 
batteries, and during the progress of this movement the 
Petropavlovsk, according to the Russian account, struck 

^ Complied from articles in The Times of April 4^ 9, 14, 16, 19, 26 aiid 28, 
1904. 

122 



ALEXEIEFFS REPORT 128 

upon a mine and capsized, carrying down with her the 
gallant admiral and some 600 sailors. The Russian 
accounts do not appear to attribute the disaster to the 
action of the enemy, but rather to some fatal mischance 
resembling that which caused the loss of the Yenisei in 
Dalny Bay. 

Admiral AlexeiefTs telegram * to the Tsar reporting 
this misfortune was as follows: 

" I respectfully report to your Majesty that on the 
11th the whole of the effective squadron sailed out six 
miles to the southward to manoeuvre, and towards 
eveniM returned to the port. On the 12th a flotilla of 
eight oestroyers went out to inspect the islands, having 
received orders to attack the enemy if they should be 
encountered. 

" In the course of the night, owing to the darkness and 
heavy rain, three destroyers became separated from the 
flotilla. Two of them returned to Port Arthur at dawn. 
The third, however, which was the Strashni, having, 
according to the evidence of the seamen, encountered 
several Japanese destroyers, took them in the darkness 
for the Russian ships, and, giving a signal of recognition, 

{'oined them. At dawn, however, she was recognised 
)y the enemy, and there was a fight at close quarters, 
in which the commanding officer, a midshipman, an 
engineer, and most of the crew were killed. One 
lieutenant, although wounded, continued firing on the 
enemy. 

'* At dawn on the 12th the cruiser Bayan went out, 
preceded by destroyers, and hurried to the rescue. 
About sixteen miles from Port Arthur the Bayan saw 
the destroyer Strashni engaged with four Japanese 
destroyers. Shortly afterwards an explosion occurred, 
and the Stjoshni sank. 

'* Driving off* the enemy's destroyers by her fire, the 
cruiser Bayan approached the scene of the fight, lowered 
her boats, and had time to save a remnant of the crew. 

' The text of this telegram is taken from Reuter's telegram from St 
Petenburg of April 22. 



CHAPTER XV ^ 

THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

So long as a Russian ship in the Far East remains 
afloat, so long is the seal of final success wanting ; and 
the hazards of modern maritime warfare are so many 
that this is not the moment to neglect or despise the 
menace, diminished though it be, remaining from the 
uninjured fragments of the Russian squadron. 

However much the Russians may have recently 
lost sight of the first great objective of Japanese 
strategy, it is quite certain that all eyes in Japan have 
been fixed upon the Port Arthur squadron, since it 
must have been perfectly apparent to all and sundry 
in Japan that the annihilation of this squadron was a 
necessary preliminary to securing unfettered liberty of 
movement upon the mainland. Temporarily relieved 
of anxiety on this point, the Japanese can now turn 
their attention to the second objective, the defeat of the 
Russian army of operations. 

The prosecution of this enterprise has undoubtedly 
been advanced a long stage by tne events of the fatal 
18th of April. On that morning news was received at 
Port Arthur of the approach of the Japanese fleet, and 
the Russian squadron, under Admiral Makaroff*, put to 
sea to give battle. The Japanese appearing in over- 
whelming force, the Russians withdrew towards their 
batteries, and during the progress of this movement the 
Petropavlovsk, according to the Russian account, struck 

^ Complied from articles in The Time* of April 4^ 9, 14, 16, 19, 26 and 28, 
1904. 

122 



ALEXEIEFF'S REPORT 128 

upon a mine and capsized, carrying down with her the 
gallant admiral and some 600 sailors. The Russian 
accounts do not appear to attribute the disaster to the 
action of the enemy, but rather to some fatal mischance 
resembling that which caused the loss of the Yenisei in 
Dalny Bay. 

Admiral AlexeiefTs telegram * to the Tsar reporting 
this misfortune was as follows: 

" I respectfully report to your Majesty that on the 
11th the whole of the effective squadron sailed out six 
miles to the southward to manoeuvre, and towards 
evening returned to the port. On the 12th a flotilla of 
eight destroyers went out to inspect the islands, having 
received orders to attack the enemy if they should be 
encountered. 

" In the course of the night, owing to the darkness and 
heavy rain, three destroyers became separated from the 
flotilla. Two of them returned to Port Arthur at dawn. 
The third, however, which was the Strashni, having, 
according to the evidence of the seamen, encountered 
several Japanese destroyers, took them in the darkness 
for the Russian ships, and, giving a signal of recognition, 
joined them. At dawn, however, she was recognised 
by the enemy, and there was a fight at close quarters, 
in which the commanding officer, a midshipman, an 
engineer, and most of the crew were killed. One 
lieutenant, although wounded, continued firing on the 
enemy. 

" At dawn on the 12th the cruiser Bayan went out, 
preceded by destroyers, and hurried to the rescue. 
About sixteen miles from Port Arthur the Bayan saw 
the destroyer Strashni engaged with four Japanese 
destroyers. Shortly afterwards an explosion occurred, 
and the Strashni sank. 

** Driving off" the enemy's destroyers by her fire, the 
cruiser Bayan approached the scene of the fight, lowered 
her boats, and had time to save a remnant of the crew. 

* The text of this telegram is taken from Reuter's telegram from St 
Petershurg of April 22. 



124 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

Unfortunately, there were only five men swimming on 
the surface, whose lives were saved. The cruiser was 
obUged to fight on her starboard side with six Japanese 
cruisers who came up. Having picked up her boats, 
the Bayan regained the harbour without damage or loss, 
although covered with fragments of shells. 

"The Diana and five destroyers hastened to her 
succour, and at the same time the other cruisers, the 
battleships Petropavhvsk and Poltava, and some de- 
stroyers, came out of the roadstead, and the other battle- 
ships came out of the harbour in column formation, 
with the Bayan at the head and the destroyers on the 
flank. The Admiral proceeded to the scene of the fight 
with the Strashni, whither more Japanese destroyei-s and 
cruisers were approaching. After a short fusillade at 
fifty cables' length the enemy's ships drew off. 

" At 8.40 a.m. a squadron of mne Japanese battle- 
ships appeared, and our ships accordingly retired towards 
Port Arthur. At the roadstead they were rejoined by 
the Pobieda, the Peresviet, and the Sevastopol coming 
out of the channel. The squadron was drawn up in the 
following order : Askold, Bayan, Diana, Petropavhvsk, 
Peresviet, Pobieda, Novik, five destroyers, and two 
torpedo-cruisers. They turned to the lefl, but when they 
were approaching the mouth of the channel the destroyers 
were signalled to return to the harbour and the cruisers 
to proceed. Manoeuvring with the Petropavhvsk at 
their head, the squadron turned to the east, making for 
the enemy on their right. 

" At 9.48 an explosion occurred on the right side of 
the Petropavhvsk, and then a second and more violent 
one under the bridge. A thick column of greenish- 
yellow smoke was seen to rise from the battleship, a 
mast, funnel, bridge, and tuiTct were thrown up, and 
the battleship heeled over on her starboard side. The 
poop rose up, showing the screw working in the air. 
The Petropavhvsk was surrounded with flames, and 
in two minutes sank bow downwards. Some of the 
crew escaped. 



TOGO'S REPORT 125 

"The torpedo gun- vessel Gaidamak^ which was a 
cable's length from uie Petropavlovsk^ succeeded directly, 
and by means of her boats, m rescuing the Grand Duke 
Cyril, two officers, and forty-seven seamen. The de- 
stroyers and boats from the Poltava and Askold also 
picked up some men. In all seven officers and seventy- 
three seamen were saved. 

" The battleship Poltava^ which was following at two 
cables' distance, stopped her engines and remained on 
the scene of the disaster. At a signal from Admiral 
Prince Ukhtomsky, the other warships made for the 
entrance of the harbour, manoeuvring towards the 
Peresxnet in line. A mine exploded on the starboard 
side of the battleship Pobieda^ and she listed, but 
continued on her way and entered the harbour with all 
the other ships behmd her. The enemy remained in 
sight until three o'clock, and then disappeared. 

" On the night preceding the sortie of the sauadron 
li^ts and the outlines of ships were seen in the distance 
fiSom the roadstead. The commander of the fleet kept 
watch in person until dawn frt>m the cruiser Diana^ 
stationed in the outer roadstead. He left her at four in 
the morning. 

" In concluding, I take the liberty to announce 
respectfully that, m spite of the ill-success which has 
attended the Pacific fleet, the crews retain their morale 
and are ready to perform all the duties required of them. 
The gracious wonls which your Majesty addressed to the 
seamen at the painfrd hour of trial serve as consolation 
and support to the whole of the forces in their efforts 
to overcome the enemy, to the glory of their beloved 
Sovereign and of their country." 

Admiral Togo's report upon these incidents was as 
follows : 

"On the 11th our combined fleet commenced, as 
previously planned, the eighth attack upon Port Arthur. 
The fourth and the fifth destroyer flotillas, the fourteenth 
torpedo flotilla, and the Koryo Maru reached the mouth 



126 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

of Port Arthur at midnight of the 12th, and effected 
the laying of mines at several points outside the port, 
defying the enemy's searchlight. 

" The second destroyer flotilla discovered, at dawn 
of the 18th, one Russian destroyer trying to enter the 
harbour, and after ten minutes' attack sank her. 

" Another Russian destroyer was discovered coming 
from the direction of Liautieshan. We attacked her, 
but she managed to flee into the harbour. 

" There were no casualties on our side except two 
seamen on the Ikazuchi slightly wounded. There was 
no time to rescue the enemy's drowning crew, as the 
Bayan approached. 

"The third fleet reached outside of Port Arthur 
at 8 a.m., when the Bayan came out and opened fire. 
Immediately the Novik^ Askold, Diana^ Petropavlovsk, 
Pobieda, and Poltava came out and made offensive 
attack upon us. 

" Our third fleet, tardily answering and gradually 
retiring, enticed the enemy fifteen miles south-east of 
the port, when our first fleet, being informed through 
wireless telegraphy from the third fleet, suddenly 
appeared before the enemy and attacked them. 

" While the enemy was trying to regain the port a 
battleship of the Petropavlovsk type struck mines laid 
by us on the previous evening, and sank at 10.82 a.m. 

" Another ship was observed to have lost freedom of 
movement, but the confusion of enemy's ships prevented 
us from identifying her. They finally managed to 
regain the port. 

" Our third fleet suffered no damage. 

" The enemy's damage was, besides the above-men- 
tioned, probably slight also. 

" Our first fleet did not reach firing distance. Our 
fleets retired at 1 p.m. prepared for another attack. 

" On the 14th our fleet resailed towards Port Arthur. 
The second, the fourth, and the fifth destroyer flotillas 
and the ninth torpedo flotilla joined at 3 a.m. and the third 
fleet at 7 a.m. No enemy's ship was seen outside the port 



ADMIRAL MAKAROFF 127 

" Our first fleet arrived there at 9 a.m., and, dis- 
covering three mines laid by the enemy, destroyed 
them aS. 

" The Kasuga and the Nisslun were despatched to 
the west of Liautieshan. They made an indirect 
bombardment for two hours, this being their first action. 
The new forts at Liautieshan were finally silenced. 

" Our forces retired at 1.80 p.m." 

It is impossible to feel anything but the deepest 
sympathy for a navy which has once more become the 
victun of circumstances, and the feeling of re^et for 
the grievous loss of life which has accompamed this 
misfortune will be universal. Admiral Makaroff only 
reached Port Arthur little more than a month ago, 
with the mission of restoring confidence in the Pacific 
squadron after its earlier disaster. Had not this disas- 
trous incident occurred, he might yet have found 
occasion to give proof of his acknowledged talent and 
restore victory once more to the Russian arms. His 
untimely death at the hour when Russia most has need 
of her greatest seamen is an almost irreparable loss to 
his sovereign and his country. 

The first-class battleship Petropavlovsk was launched 
in St Petersburg in 1894. Her displacement was 
10,950 tons, with an indicated horse-power of 11,200, 
and a measured-mile speed of 16-8 knots. Her engines 
were by Hawthorn & I.»eslie. She was heavily armed 
and armoured, carrying four 12-in., twelve 6-in., and 
thirty-eight smaller quick-firing guns, with a weight of 
broadside fire of 3,387 lb., while her armour ranged from 
10 in. on the turrets of the 12-in. guns to 4 in. on the 
lower deck redoubt. Her sea-going complement was 
632 men. The Poltava and Sevastopol are sister ships, 
and the type is a modified Royal Sovereign. 

Everything that has occurred during the maritime 
phase of the war lends weight to the maxim of Richelieu 
that misfortune and imprudence are two different words 
for the same thing. When the Russians should be 



128 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

active, enterprising, and alert they are generally 
dormant ; when caution is plainly required they rush 
to their doom. If we must plainly and clearly set 
down the naval humiliation of Russia to the original 
sin of shortsighted diplomacy, it is also necessary to 
add that little has been displayed on the professional 
side save the virtues of courage and patriotism. 

As to the main and underlying cause of the maritime 
debacle, it remains invariably and profoundly true that 
good policy makes good war. The first fruits of govern- 
mental incapacity in peace are military disasters m war, 
and by a tragic injustice the punishment falls on heads 
other than those responsible for the crime. Long before 
hostilities began the dangerous situation of the Pacific 
squadron was described in The Times in the plainest 
terms, yet all the acknowledgment received from the 
Russian capital was an intimation from the Novoe 
Fremya that " people are endeavouring to intimidate 
us with phantoms." The phantoms, alas ! are there 
in truth, but they are the shades of brave Russian 
seamen who have fallen victims to the ineptitude which 
has marked the conduct of the war m its wider 
bearings. It is the business of diplomacy to under- 
stand, prepare, and simplify the rdle of the fighting 
services ; tne first combats are the test, not of arms, 
but rather of government itself and of its leading 
members. But it is also true that in the present 
instance the naval situation has been gravely aggravated 
by professional incompetence. The commanders of the 
Bayan and the Noxnk have invariably done well, while 
the lieutenant in charge of the Silni deserved well of 
his country. Elsewhere we may seek in vain for any 
display of qualities entitling Russia to rank among the 
senous naval Powers of the world. 

The conduct of the Variag was magnificent, but it 
certainly was not war. She had great speed and twelve 
hours of darkness in front of her after tne situation off 
Chemulpo was known to her commander. Instead of 
taking the crews of the Korietz and Sungari on board. 



THE KORYO MARU 129 

scuttling these vessels, and making a dash for freedom, 
she awaited the Ught, and, with her little consort in her 
wake, steamed out to absolutely certain destruction. 
The failure of Russian ordnance, whether mounted 
on board ship or on land, has also been a revelation. 
Despite frequent trials of strength, no serious damafire 
has oeen done to a single ship of the enemy, and the 
in-shore squadron of the Japanese battle fleet takes 
liberties within the close range of Russian batteries 
in a manner which discloses a surprising contempt 
for the land batteries and submarine mines, apparently 
justified by past immunity from damage. Tne pro- 
ceedings of Commander Oda on the night of the 
12th give us the measure of the Russian destroyer 
flotilla and picketboats. Of all the feats of arms 
which have distinguished the Japanese navy in this 
war, nothing finer has been displayed than the conduct 
of this officer and his crew of the mining vessel Koryo 
Mam. The duty of laying a network of electro- 
meehanical mines within a mUe of the entrance to the 
harbour was excessively hazardous, since it required 
that an unarmoured vessel, filled with explosives, 
should work deliberately under the beams of the 
Russian searchlights, within close range of the shore 
batteries, and exposed to the attacks of the Russian 
destroyers and torpedo boats. The chances were 
aminst success, yet success was achieved. Once more 
the Japanese ranged throughout the anchorage at their 

Eleasure, once more the Japanese destroyers made a 
appy diversion without a single Russian mine or shell 
domg damage, and, covered by these craft, the Koryo 
Mam carried out its duty with a thoroughness and a 
skill deserving of generous recognition by all who 
admire devotion to duty in the domain of war. Unless 
more of the lighter craft have been injured than we 
know, there should be eighteen destroyers and torpedo 
boats at Port Arthur, yet. not a single one of uiese 
ventured to interfere with operations requiring time 
and taking place within a mile of the harbour. It was 

9 



130 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

a splendid opportunity, and it was missed, with results 
to Russia now known to all. 

By no means the least interesting phrase in Admiral 
Togo's report of the naval operations between April 11 
and 14 is that in which he attributes his success to the 
glorious virtue of the Emperor of Japan. There is an 
old-world flavour about this unusual expression which 
carries us back to the age of the Antonmes. Military 
merit, we are told by Tacitus, was in the strictest sense 
an imperatoria virtics, and it is strange to see the ancient 
traditions revived in the prosaic century in which we 
live. Rome, however, went a good deal further in 
pursuit of this ideal than woula be at all desirable 
in present circumstances, for Germanicus and Agricola 
were recalled in the flood-tide of their too popular 
victories, while Corbulo, for a similar fault, was put 
to death. Let us hope that the Japanese will not 
carry the Roman analogy too far. 

The great successes which have attended the conduct 
of the naval war by Japan must not be allowed to blind 
us to the fact that these successes have been won, in a 
large measure, owing to the incompetence of the Russian 
navy. Nor, again, must we refuse to acknowledge that 
the concentration of Russian naval resources in a single, 
narrow, and ill-found maritime fortress has enormously 
simplified the task of the Japanese. If we ever are 
called upon to wage a maritime war in European 
waters the problem will be far more complex, since 
the shores of our possible enemies are studded with 
arsenals, defended ports, and torpedo-boat refuges, and 
a squadron acting against any one of these is Uable to 
attack by surprise from any other unguarded point of 
the coast. The lessons of this war are being absorbed, 
point by point, by all nations alike, and the faults made 
are exactly those least likely to be repeated. 

Up to the present moment of the war, and so far 
as the conditions permit of comparison, the action of 
Japanese strategy has closely followed the probable 
practice of a British navy in a wider field of operations. 



JAPANESE NAVY 181 

But we are now reaching the point where the practice 
of the allied nations diverges, since the Japanese army 
is about to enter the lists to complete the work so well 
b^un at sea. Upon a European theatre we have no 
such power, and few perhaps have realised all the con- 
sequences. The Japanese navy has not the position of 
predominance in strategic problems that our navy has 
assumed at home. There are no great traditions of 
naval policy and practice handed down like heirlooms 
firom father to son to guide opinion, or, may be, to 
misdirect it Naval opinion, in the war councils of 
Japan, has not the same overmastering and omnipotent 
influence which it has in those of Britain. The conditions 
are not the same, for, apart from traditions, Japan has 
no colonies and dependencies scattered broadcast about 
the habitable globe, and all her armed forces are con- 
centrated and contained on the national territory. The 
war councils of Japan are essentially military, using 
the term in its vulgar sense, and in case of difference 
of opinion the voice of Marshal Oyama, as the senior 
executive officer, would prevail. A whole world of 
difference separates this conception of national stratify 
finom ours. 

''The army and the navy are distinguished nominally, 
but, in truth, they are as the two wheels of a cart" 
So declared a leaoing Japanese paper a few weeks ago, 
adopting a favourite and oft-repeated simile of the 
Chinese classics ; and that, no doubt, is the ideal, as it 
ought to be with us. But Japanese naval officers, 
expert, dashing, and intelligent though they be, have 
not the same influence in national councils as the 
officers of the sister service. A divisional general of 
1894 is now Prime Minister, and another member of 
the ^vemment has recently left office to assume the 
position of chief of the general staff of the army now 
assembling for attack. These things differentiate the 
army from the navy in Japan, and also, even in a 
greater degree, differentiate between the conditions 
prevailing in Elngland and in Japan. It would require 



182 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

a drastic surgical operation for any one in this country 
to picture any living British general Prime Minister of 
England, or any occupant of the front bench leading an 
army into battle. It would be difficult to say which 
alternative would offer least allurements or promise 
more appalling catastrophes. 

Owmg to the relative situation of the two services 
in Japan the command of the sea is regarded only as a 
means to an end, and not the end itself ; the action of 
the navy is introductory and preparatory, and the 
decision is left to the land forces. When the Japanese 
advance begins upon the mainland we shall regretfully 
drop the particular thread of interest attaching to this 
campaign in its maritime aspects. We shall look on 
with envy at an island Power capable of waging 
decisive war, but at heart many of us will be thinking 
sic vos non nolns. We cannot hope, in our next naval 
war, to attack the maritime arsenals of our enemy in 
Europe from the land side, and we have made no 
adequate preparations to execute decisive attacks frora 
the side of the sea. Presuming our enemy adopts 
Fabian tactics, we cannot therefore expect to deal a 
stunning blow at the harbours of refuge where his 
naval power is collected, that is to say, at his ships 
themselves ; and unless we face this problem squarely, 
a long and desultory naval war is inevitable. We have, 
it is true, waged long and desultory wars in the past 
with some success, but it is open to question whether 
the modem machinery of fleets and the condition of the 
affkirs of the world permit us to dawdle through a war 
again. 

The Japanese hold in reserve their strongest trump, 
which has not yet been played — a numerous, highly- 
trained, and mobile army. We have no such force in 
reserve, and nothing that we can reasonably do will 
enable us to execute more than raids upon the Con- 
tinental territory of a European foe. We must there- 
fore either be prepared to conduct the naval attack 
upon the maritime reftige of our enemy's fleet with the 



THE VIEW OF M. THIERS 188 

utmost vigour, with new means, new inventions, and 
new arms, and carry througli such attack to a point 
far beyond the stage which the Japanese have reached 
at Port Arthur, or face the alternative of a long, 
harassing, and costly war, which will require a great 
numerical superiority to wage with even partial success. 
The attack upon a naval arsenal where a hostile fleet 
has taken refuge is a problem which can only be 
neglected at the cost of leaving us committed to the 
excessive hazards of long and indecisive war. 

Some impatient and impressionable critics continue 
to find fault with the delay which has taken place in 
Japanese operations, and expect to see the Russian 
Colossus devoured at a mouthful. But no one has 
yet conquered space by a coup de main, and armies 
of the modem pattern are not moved about during 
mid-winter in East Asia with the facility with which 
we pull out the flag that marks the Japanese position 
at Pingyang and advance it to Wiju. M. Thiers, who 
had better opportunities than any one else in his day 
of studying the inner history of Napoleon's Russian 
campaign, gave it as his opinion to the late Mr. Nassau 
Senior that the fault of the Emperor lay in the intem- 
perate haste of his movements and in his endeavour to 
finish the campaign at a single blow. The view of M. 
Thiers was that Napoleon should have advanced to the 
Vistula in one campaign and to the Niemen in the next, 
thus gradually, as he described it, " eating into the 
monster *' ; and if we may be chary of pitting the 
strat^c theories of M. Thiers against the practice of 
Napoleon, we may probably believe that the views 
of the French statesman represented the judgment 
of impartial military critics of his day. 

It is true that two months have elapsed since the 
rupture of negotiations, and no pitched battle has been 
fought If Russia wills it, the same thing may be true 
of the next two months. War is a game in which there 
are two players, of whom one may rise and leave the 
table whenever the fancy takes him to forfeit a stake. 



184 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

It has been already pointed out that the despatch of 
the Russian Mediterranean squadron to the East 
precipitated hostilities, and that if the Japanese had 
been the arbiters of historic evolution the outbreak 
of war would have been postponed for a month at 
least. Moreover, the best opinion in Japan believed 
that the preliminary operations at sea would last a 
month, and that only then, and at a very heavy price, 
would the sea be cleared. But the decision, so far as 
we are yet entitled to call it by the name, was reached 
in a single hour of a single night ; and the Japanese did 
not care sufficiently for the spectacular effect of the 
drama to fill up the gap by ranging the coasts with 
ships and men, and executing feints, as they might have 
done, from one end of the Russian Pacific shores to the 
other. The Japanese may have been lacking in fore- 
sight, but if any seaman had ventured to prophesy the 
events of February 8 and 9 before the war ne would 
have been accounted a very sanguine individual. So 
lon^, again, as the ice held the coast in its iron grip 
military operations on a large scale were impracticable 
on the mainland, unless Japan was prepared to see her 
armies wither away before contact with the enemy. 
There is a limit to all human endurance, and the rigours 
of an East Asian winter are not favourable for bivouacs 
a la belle dtoile. 

Everjrthing that circumstances warranted was done. 
The force sent to Korea was restricted to the minimum 
necessary to secure a grip on the peninsula and the 
capital, and the troops sent north were as many as 
could be protected from the inclemency of the season 
in the Korean towns and villages throughout the area 
in occupation. They were enough to deny the Russians 
the luxury of a Cossack raid far into Northern Korea ; 
and the steady pursuance of the Japanese plans has 
now brought the Mikado's forces, in the second week 
of April, to the precise point which they occupied late 
in August, 1894, when Yamagata arrived on the Yalu. 
There is only this material difference, that whereas in 



ON THE YALU 135 

1894 the subsequent operations had to be carried on in 
the early part of the winter, causing ravages in the 
Japanese ranks which have perhaps never been entirely 
admitted, there is now the whole of the short summer 
campaigning season in front of them, and they have all 
these months in which to crush the opposition of the 
Russian army. Those who declare that the Japanese 
have done nothing on the mainland forget that the 
Korean Peninsula measures 400 miles from Wiju to 
Fusan, and that the military occupation of this con- 
siderable territory and the establishment of order under 
the new conditions are not affairs of a passing hour. 

The Japanese have their First Army now concen- 
trated on the Yalu, where the Russians appear to 
intend to maintain their position. A number of minor 
skirmishes have occurred on the river line, and it will 
have been noticed that the Russian dead in one of 
these actions were found to belong to the 12th East 
Siberian Rifle Regiment. The natural deduction is 
that there is more than a Cossack rearguard in position, 
and that the Russians have the intention of holding 
the river line. In its lower reaches the Yalu is navig- 
able up to Chanson, fifty miles from the sea, where the 
first rapids occur. The river estuary is a formidable 
obstacle, but as a defensive line against an enemy 
having command of the sea the Yalu's attractions are 
the reverse of obvious. The line can be turned from 
seawards or by a passage of the higher reaches of the 
river, while Liauyang, where the mass of the Russian 
field army is supposed to be concentrated, is 120 miles 
distant over indifferent roads. The Russians on the 
Yalu are thus much exposed, and if they elect to stand 
here they deserve to suffer for it. 

In any case, we shall soon have an opportunity of 
seeing whether the Russian army has improved as much 
as its admirers believe. It will have to show a great 
advance upon the practice of the last war with Turkey 
in order to secure victory over Japan. In 1877 and 
1878 the Russians made mistake after mistake, and had 



136 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

not the armies of Turkey been directed with the utmost 
incapacity the Russians would certainly have been 
compelled to recross the Danube. Good fighters as 
the Japanese undoubtedly are, the strength of their 
army resides mainly in the staff and higher command, 
and faults made against a brave army well commanded 
are not indulged in with impunity. 

Hitherto the Russian press has provided excessively 
tedious reading. If mihtary gemus is the power of 
seeing men, things, and circumstances as they are, then 
the Russian press has not been overburdened with it, 
since it has only given evidence of seeing things as they 
are not. In Bishop Butler's phrase, the Russians have 
only wanted to know what was said, not what was true. 

Sometimes a reader will wonder whether the quaint 
conceits he sees in the Russian press are anything more 
than a postscript to Tolstoi's IVar and Peace, and 
whether Kuropatkin and Kharbin would not be better 
replaced by KutusofF and the Kremlin. Russian pictures 
of war, whether on canvas or on paper, are always incom- 
parably good in a descriptive sense, but they are always 
pictures, and as theories of war they are generally as 
mystic and untenable as those of the greatest Russian 
novelist's greatest epic. 

War sometimes forgives criminals, but it never 
forgives dreamers. The sterile emotions of leaders of 
Russian thought are exceedingly beautiful, but as 
serious contributions to the decision of practical questions 
of national strategy they are remarkably useless. The 
Russians invent men after their own mournful ideals, 
and then weave round them a chain of circumstances 
and events to square with their own theories of life and 
contemporary history. All these visions vanish into the 
air at the touch of the enemy's sword and on contact 
with the stern realities of war ; the Russian dreamer 
awakes to find himself in an unknown world. 

It is somewhat invidious to recall that the disasters 
which have befallen the Russian navy were foretold in 
T/f€ Times before the outbreak of hostilities. It was 



DREAMERS AWAKE 187 

stated that Port Arthur contained, for the Russian fleet, 
what Metz contained for the army of Bazaine, the fatal 
germs of strategic death. The germs have fructified, 
and have stricken with their insidious disease the whole 
body of the Pacific squadron. No other result could 
reasonably have been anticipated, since none other was 
prepared. Fortresses or harbours of refiige exercise a 
tatu attraction upon wavering minds, and over the 
portals of every fortress should be inscribed as a warning 
to fleets and armies those terrible words which Dante, 
the first of reporters, discovered over the gates of hell. 
War is an affair of movement, activity, and combat ; 
the harbour or fortress of reftige is the negation of all 
three, but its siren voice is always there to attract the 
wanderer into its haven of delusive peace. Ulysses, the 
first of admirals, was similarly beguiled, and escaped 
the temptation by timely recognition of his own weak- 
ness. Legend has woven another explanation into his 
proceedings, but it is clear in any case that Ulysses kept 
the sea, and it had been better for the Russians if they 
had followed his practice, even though they had chained 
their admiral to his conning-tower. 

But the Russian dreamers have awakened to the 
stem realities of the contest before them, and for the 
first time since the opening of the war are beginning to 
show siffns of returning animation. No one aware of 
the patriotism and constancy of the Russian nation has 
ever permitted himself to entertain any illusions re- 
specting the gravity of the contest on land should the 
Russians awake to the dangers of their position and 
proceed to take the necessary steps to turn the situation 
to their advantage. There are as good brains in Russia 
as anywhere else, but in ordinary times they are atrophied 
by an extremely imperfect, not to say fantastic, system 
of government With returning reason Russia is be- 
ginning to measure the greatness of the task in front 
of her, and to take some, at least, of the measures which 
are indispensable before any ideas of victory can be 
entertained. 



138 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

The recognition of the vital importance of the Trans- 
Siberian Railway to the successful conduct of the war 
in Manchuria has been the first step, and, though 
existing defects cannot be made good in a day, some 
remedies are being applied. In Prince Khilkoff the 
Tsar has found one man at least equal to the situation 
and capable of endeavouring to dominate it. The com- 
pletion of the circum-Baik^ railway, promised for the 
middle of August, will be a fact of the utmost con- 
sequence, and this operation will be rendered even more 
salutary by the recent increase of rolling stock upon the 
lines east of Baikal and the pending provision of new 
sidings on the Manchurian system. The present limita- 
tion of military traffic is solely caused by the material 
impossibility of forwarding large numbers of men and 
large quantities of supplies and stores over a single line 
provided with insufficient rolling stock and inadequate 
sidings. In its issue of April 13 the Fiedomx)sti shows 
that the ideal of the Russian Staff is to continue the 
improvement of the line until twenty-four military 
trains can be despatched daily, and when the circum- 
Baikal line is laid and large additions have been made 
both to the rolling stock and the sidings in East Asia 
there is no reason why, in course of time, a very great 
improvement should not take place. Japan will there- 
fore doubtless be prepared for the result of this steady 
improvement in her enemy's line of communications, 
and will calculate that from August onward Russia 
may be able not only to place in the field, but also to 
supply, much more considerable numbers than she 
can now. 

But nearly four months intervene between the 
present date and the promised completion of the circum- 
Baikal line ; temporarily the traffic at Baikal is sus- 
pended, and it is to Japan's interest to complete her 
campaign with the utmost vigour while time and cir- 
cumstances are still in her favour. Things which may be 
accomplished by 1 ,000 men this year may prove difficult 
for 2,000 the year following. 



RUSSIAN CONFIDENCE 139 

The military awakening of Russia must have been 
anticipated by all who have seen or read or studied 
Russians and Russian history, and may have made them 
converts to the views we have expressed that Japan 
should limit her military ambitions this year to the 
seizure of Korea, the defeat of the Russian army in the 
Liau Valley, the occupation of Mukden, and the capture 
of the Russian maritime arsenals with the relics of the 
Russian ships. 

So far as we can judge by telegrams from the seat 
of war, the Russians mean to make a stand upon the 
Yalu, and in this case we can feel assured that they will 
speedily require all their skill and resolution to maintain 
such a dangerously advanced position. The Russian 
calculation is that the Japanese transports only allow 
the landing of 48,000 men at each trip, and that a fort- 
ni^t must intervene before the next contingent reaches 
the scene of action from Japan. It is thought that, if 
the Japanese land in the north of the Liautung Gulf, 
General Kuropatkin has now sufficient men to fall upon 
the Japanese first landed and overwhelm them before 
the steamers can bring up reinforcements, and, as regards 
the intervention of the army of General Kuroki, the 
Russians consider he will take a month to cover the 
distance between the Yalu and Liauyang. They there- 
fore feel confident that from his central position at 
Liauyang General Kuropatkin will be able to act in 
either direction with the weight of his whole field army 
against the separated fragments of the Japanese. 

It may perhaps occur to some Russians that most 
things obvious to them will be not less obvious to the 
Japanese, and that the chances are that their enemy will 
accept all the advantages but refuse all the risks which 
the situation offers. The check experienced by the 
Japanese at the Motienling position in 1894 has caused 
exaggerated notions to prevail concerning the impene- 
trability of the mountains on this side. In the last war 
the main objective of the Japanese was Peking, and the 
detachment checked at Motienling only possessed a 



140 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

secondary importance. Peking is no longer the objective, 
and from the Yalu forward the lessons of 1894 cease to 
apply. The mountains are certainly a serious obstacle, 
and the only carriage road, if it can be dignified by such 
a name, runs from the Yalu by Fenghwangchenn into 
the heart of the position which the Russians have fortified 
in this quarter. But there are other tracks, and the 
Japanese army is specially equipped for campaigning in 
this mountainous region, no fewer than six of its divisions 
having mountain artillery, in which arm their enemy is 
especially weak. The Motien and other ranges are also 
not precisely the theatre which a Cossack Camilla would 
select if desirous of scouring the plain, and the moun- 
taineers of Daghestan have not yet reached'^their allotted 
sphere. Whether, again, Kuropatkin can collect at 
present a sufficient field army, after weakening himself 
by the provision of garrisons for the maritime fortress, 
is a very doubtful point. 

The Russians still talk of finishing the campaign in 
September, and the favourite plan for the attainment 
of this end is a march from Vladivostok upon Gensan. 
It is considered that during the summer a large army 
can be collected between Kharbin and Vladivostok and 
that no insuperable difficulties intervene to prevent the 
march proposed. The defeat of the Japanese, the occu- 
pation of Seoul, and the humble acceptance of peace by 
Japan are all discounted in advance. It is a model of 
that essential trait in strategical plans — rarissima sim- 
pKcitas, The appearance of Cossacks at Changseng will 
certainly serve as a reminder that General Kuroki's right 
flank is in some degree vulnerable unless the necessary 
measures are taken to protect it, but it is very improb- 
able that any serious aanger threatens from this side 
at the present juncture. We have, it is true, lost sight 
of General Mishchenko and his Cossacks for the best part 
of three weeks, and after his departure from the I^ower 
Yalu we were informed that he was about to do some- 
thing which would make our flesh creep. A raid upon 
Northern Korea from the north-east, and an endeavour 



THE TSAR'S MESSAGE 141 

to strike in upon the line of communications with Ping- 
yang and Seoul was evidently the only action that lay 
open to the Russians, and we should judge that the 
reported advance of a body of Cossacks by Songching 
and Pukchen marks the opening of this new phase in 
the operations. 

Tne situation of the Russian commanders of the 
land and sea forces is full of difficulties, and is in no 
way simplified by the tenns in which the Tsar has 
notified to his Viceroy the recent changes in the higher 
commands. As the version of this communication, 
which has appeared in the English Press, is somewhat 
truncated, and as the Imperial message to Admiral 
AlexeiefF is a document of the highest interest, it is 
permissible to quote it in full from the French text of 
jLe Temps^ which has the appearance of being authori- 
tative : 

** Prenant en consideration I'importance de la guerre 
actuelle, dont le rdsultat doit ^tre d'ouvrir k la Russie 
d'une mani^re definitive Facets du Pacifique, et pr^- 
voyant qu'en votre quality de mon lieutenant-general en 
Extreme-Orient, vous aurez k transporter votre residence 
dans un lieu central, tel que Karbine ou toute outre 
ville, k votre choix, j'ai juge utile de vous adjoindre 
Taide de camp Kouropatkine, qui commandera en chef 
Farmee de terre et jouira des prerogatives inherentes 
k ce commandement ; je vous ai adjoint de m^me le 
vice-amind Makharof, qui commandera les forces de 
mer et jouira des droits de commandant en chef de 
la flotte. 

" J*ai la conviction que la designation de ces officiers 
ffeneraux, chefe k la fois autonomes et responsables des 
forces qui leur sont confiees, contribuera a garantir de 
votre part Taccomplissement de la tSche historique qui 
vous incombe, en votre qualite de mon Ueutenant-general 
en Extreme-Orient." 

Besides containing an expression of the Imperial 
intentions, which will be studied with lively interest in 
every quarter of the globe, this telegram sounds the 



142 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

death-knell of the Viceroy's supremacy which the ukase 
of last July conferred upon him. 

He is given a gentle hint to remove himself from 
the scene of hostilities ; he is no longer dictator in civil, 
military, and naval affairs ; the command of the army 
and navy is taken from him and conferred upon others, 
who are each in their sphere supreme. It is not quite 
clear what duties remain for the Viceroy to perform in 
the pursuit of the historic mission. The army, and with 
it presumably the security of the railway and frontiers, 
passes to G^eneral Kuropatkin and becomes autonomous ; 
the Viceroy retains some of the attributes, but loses all 
the prerogatives of power. The navy also slips from his 
hands, and each service does what is good m its own 
eyes, no central impulse remaining to direct these 
separate forces to a single end. Who is to decide if the 
army and navy disagree upon a course of action ? Who 
is to settle the relative importance of the replenishing of 
one service or the other by means of the railway ? Not 
the Viceroy, certainly ; since he has no longer any voice 
in the matter at all, and, in case of difference of opinion, 
no one can reconcile conflicting interests but the Imperial 
master. " God is so high and the Tsar so far," says the 
Russian peasant, and there is something to be said for 
the traditional practice of the Russian Tsars to accom- 
pany their armies in the field and decide vexed questions 
off-hand by a word from which there is no appeal. 

If Alexeieff had been a roi faineant, he might have 
passed down to a lower plane of importance without 
serious damage to his own dignity or to the machine of 
government; but he has, on the contrary, been ex- 
tremely masterful, and has made his power and influence 
widelv felt It is not easy, even for an autocrat in 
partifms, to throw off the purple or divide the crown 
with equals. The civil administration still remains in 
his hands ; but, now that a state of war exists and the 
entire country is practically a foreign territory in 
Russian military occupation, the sphere of a civil 
administrator escapes accurate delimitation. 



ALEXEIEFF SUPERSEDED 143 

If the Viceroy is not on the best of terms with the 
general commanding the army of Manchuria, and if, 
as rumour declares, he is altogether hostile to Admiral 
SkrydlofF, the successor to poor Makaroff, we can 
sympathise with his desire to terminate an almost 
intolerable situation, and understand the reported offer 
of his resignation. Nor can it be at all congenial to 
General Kuropatkin to be forced to refer all questions 
oonceming the civil administration to an authority at a 
distance, who would not be human if he did not enter- 
tain somewhat bitter feelings concerning his virtual 
supersession. On the other hand, the Tsar probably 
feels that it would be a sign of vacillation if his 
lieutenant were recalled in the hour of stress, and that 
such an open acknowledgment of the failure of the 
whole policy underlying the ukase of last July would 
injuriously affect the prestige of Russia, and throw a 
stronger light upon the misfortunes of the first weeks 
of war. 

In view of the predominance now assumed by the 
land operations, the secondary r6le devolving on the 
shattered squadron, and the altogether subordinate 
functions of the civil administration, it is difficult to 
deny that the concentration of all powers in the hands 
of the general in command would seem to be the 
natural course dictated by the situation. It should be 
easy to attach to the general a civil bureau charged 
with the minor duties which now occupy the Viceroy, 
and General Kuropatkin would then be m a position to 
combine all energies to a single purpose. An alternative 
is the departure of the Tsar for the seat of war — a 
raoposal to which rumour continually recurs. The 
Kussian Tsars have generally accompanied their armies 
in the field, and their presence has often proved of great 
advantage. It may, perhaps, be recalled that during 
the war with Turkey in 1828-1829 the reigning Tsar 
crossed the Danube with his army, and was accompanied 
by the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg, Sir 
William a Court, first Lord Heytesbury, who has left 



144 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

an interesting account of the events of that time. The 
mobilisation of the Corps Diplomatique at St. Peters- 
burg, in the event of another Imperial progress to the 
seat of war, is not, perhaps, to be anticipated, and would 
cause some consternation in that amiable circle ; but it 
would be not altogether unprecedented for the chiefs 
of the two states now at war to encourage the armies of 
operation by their presence at the post of danger. 

In turning now to the question of the Russian army 
itself, it may be well, before decisive operations begin, 
to review once more, by the light of the latest infor- 
mation, the actual position of affairs on the Russian 
side. We read in the columns of one of the most 
esteemed and best-informed of French newspapers — 
namely, JLe Temps — that the Russian army is double 
the strength of its enemy, and that additional reinforce- 
ments are only required, so that 150,000 men may be 
sent to Peking to place a term upon Chinese machina- 
tions. Even English journals, drawing a thousand 
colours from the light, show a disposition to accept 
Russian assurances of the same character at their face 
value. The exaggerated estimates ^ of the strength of 
the Russian army in Manchuria which are thus made in 
various quarters render it necessary to sound a note of 
warning, and to endeavour to reduce the figures to more 
exact proportions bearing some sort of relation to the 
facts. 

Like the heavy father of drama, Russia has always 
endeavoured to make business out of bulk and to 
impress opinion with the idea of ponderosity. The 
disasters of Charles XII. and Napoleon have created a 
legend of Russian invincibility which has hypnotised 
Europe, and reduced the public opinion of the world to 
a state of mind allowing it to accept with credulity the 
most preposterous claims to military pre-eminence. All 
countries have more or less groaned under this tyranny, 

' It should W remembered that in the early period of the campaign very 
little was known to the public of the strength and dispositions of the opposing 
armies. 



RUSSIA'S DIGNITY AND MIGHT 145 

and it has affected the entire course of international 
politics throughout a long series of years, to the great 
advantage of Russian ambitions, legitimate and other. 
If words could kill, the Japanese would long ago have 
been finished, since the vast array of which organs of 
opinion under the spell of Russian influence are so 
constantly speaking would seem to leave our poor 
allies not a shade or a shadow of a chance of ultimate 
victory. 

We are now told that within a few days there will 
be half a million Russians in the field, and that the 
Russian steam roller will then begin its entirely inevit- 
able progress. There will be, we are told, 200,000 men 
on the Yalu, and other armies springing up on all sides, 
so completelv armed and ready that the Olympian 
precedent will be quite outdone. 

It does not seem to occur to the Russians that the 
average reader of telegrams concerning " Russia's vast 
army ' is lost in wonder why these formidable masses 
remain quiescent, and do not at once proceed to eat up 
the Japanese, who offer themselves ready victims within 
touch of the Russian outposts. If 500,000 Russians are 
not sufficiently confident to advance and drive the enemy 
into the sea, how many of the Tsar's soldiers are con- 
sidered the equals of one Japanese ? General Kuropatkin 
is not considered a timid leader, and, though he has no 
experience of handling large masses on a theatre of war, 
we cannot be expected to believe that he would not be 
amply satisfied if he had anything like these numbers 
under his hand. If the " dignity and might of Russia " 
are not satified by the assembly of half a million men, 
they run a very serious risk of never being satisfied 
at alL 

No one in England has any desire to depreciate the 
patriotic efforts which are being made in Russia to cope 
with an exceedingly complex and difficult situation ; but 
we all have a greater interest in keeping ourselves in- 
formed of solid facts than of fiuid opinions. If we 
divide the latest Russian figures by two, we shall remain 

10 



146 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

on the safe side. So far as can be ascertained from the 
numbers present at the outbreak of war, and from those 
brought up since February 8, General Kuropatkin has 
not, all told, more than 250,000 men under his command 
at the present moment From these considerable 
deductions have to be made before we can arrive at the 
strength of the field army. There are not fewer than 
45,000 men of the army at Port Arthur and Vladi- 
vostok, 80,000 more guarding the railway, and 10,000 
occupied in other duties on the line ; there are probably 
10 per cent in hospital or convalescent, and the garrisons 
of towns and fortified points other than those on the 
railway absorb another 20,000 men. 

These numbers, amounting to 180,000 men in all, 
cannot be readily reduced. The maritime fortresses 
cannot be left unguarded so long as they are retained, 
since they are open to attack at any moment The 
constant attempts upon the railway make it imperative 
to retain the guards in their positions, since the preserva- 
tion of the line is vital to the successfiil prosecution of 
the campaign, and, in fact, it is jealously guarded 
throughout its entire length. There remain no more 
than 120,000 men to form the field army, and the 
extent of territory this army has to occupy or to cover 
against the attack of an enemy supreme at sea makes 
it impracticable to mass the whole for a united blow. 

Since the outbreak of war there have been brought 
from Western Russia some 86 third battalions for the 
East Siberian Rifle Regiments, 10,000 reserves to com- 
plete the first and second battalions of the same corps, 
8,000 reserves to complete to war strength the two 
brigades of the 81st and 85th Divisions sent to the East 
last year, besides a number of quick-firing batteries and 
various units mobilised in Siberia. From all these 
resources the four Siberian army corps may have been 
completed to an average strength of 40,000 to 45,000 
men apiece, and may each contain approximately 36 
battalions, 12 squadrons, and 8 batteries, leaving over 
a couple of independent divisions of Cossacks. As two 



RUSSIAN FIELD ARMY 147 

brigades, now divisions, of East Siberian Rifles have 
been detached for the defence of Port Arthur and 
another for that of Vladivostok, the available field 
army is certainly not in excess of 120,000 men, and is 
probably rather less. We anticipated that the Russian 
neld army might be expected to reach the total of 
150»000 men by the middle of May, and there is no 
sign as yet that these limits wiU be exceeded. It always 
has been, and, so long as the railway is intact, it always 
will be possible to bnng up more men, if all the horses, 
waggons, and equipments which are the concomitants 
of mobile force are omitted ; but it is useless for Russia's 
purposes to amass a horde of infantry in Manchuria 
without transport and tied to the railway. Even as 
thin^ stand we are without information as to the 
mobdity of the Russian field army, and some acute 
observers on the Continent declare that not one-half 
the necessary number of waggons and animals were 
assembled when hostilities began, even for the use of 
the troops then in East Asia. In view of all these 
considerations it is a somewhat lar^e assumption to 
hold that the Russian army is double the strength of 
the Japanese, or to believe that 150,000 surplus troops 
can be directed upon Peking. 

So £Eur as can be ascertained, one army corps is still 
posted about Nikolsk and Ninguta, in the vicinity of 
Vladivostok; the 2nd and 3rd are south of Mukden 
and on the Yalu, while the 4th, of more recent forma- 
tion, is probably still at Kharbin. Under the hand of 
General Kuropatkin himself are certainly not more 
than 70,000 men, and these have to occupy the line of 
the Yalu, to defend Fenghwangchenn and the Motien 
position, besides holding Niuchwang and other points 
on the coast where a descent is anticipated. These 
points are extremely numerous, and we can very well 
follow the direction of Russian anxieties by reading 
the reports which come in concerning the presence of 
Japanese warships, transports, and boats at various 
pomts of the extensive coast-line. Even the main field 



148 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

army is greatly scattered, and the only reason why 
General Kuropatkin has not delivered a vigorous 
counter-stroke against the First Japanese Army, which 
offers itself to his blows, is that he has not the necessary 
force to act offensively owing to the drain of his 
garrisons and detachments, and cannot let go his hold 
at one point or another until the objective of his enemy 
becomes patent. The initiative is still with the Japanese, 
thanks to their supremacy upon the water, and it is 
impracticable for the Russian commander, with any 
regard for prudence, to commit himself to an advance 
in force into Korea while he remains in the dark as to 
the main line of attack of his enemy. That some troops 
have left Liauyang during the last few days is extremely 
likely. We know from the general's reports that the 
Japanese are extending along the Yalu, and have 
probably overlapped the limits of ground occupied by 
General Kashtalmsky's troops ; it is, therefore, necessary 
to look to it that the Japanese do not traverse the river 
in its middle reaches and outflank the Russian position 
on its left wing, where it is strategically vulnerable. 

But attention cannot be concentrated at any one 
point On the lower Yalu itself the numbers of the 
enemy are increasing, and it is clear from the Russian 
reports that boats are being prepared and pontoons 
made ready to force the passage. Off Tatungkau the 
Cossack scouts report transports, and Geneiul Mish- 
chenko sends the same news from Sonching ; in many 
other quarters attack is anticipated, and General Kuro- 
patkin remains virtually a prisoner until his course of 
action is dictated by the Japanese initiative. 

The deployment of the Japanese army on the Yalu, 
and the menace of serious attack from the side of 
Korea, entail upon the Russians the necessity of forming 
front parallel with their line of communications. The 
disadvantages of such a position are not felt until 
contact is arrived at ; but, in case of failure to withstand 
the approaching onslaught, the position would threaten 
to become serious, and only a well-commanded and 



A VIRTUE OF NECESSITY 149 

mobile army could extricate itself with credit and 
without serious loss. 

It is interesting to read the report from St. Peters- 
burg that there are now plenty of men in Manchuria, 
and that the transport of troops can be suspended, an 
announcement which coincides with the temporary 
closure of communications at Lake Baikal. Russia 
thus for the third time makes a virtue of necessity, and 
for some three weeks, the Manchurian army is practically 
isolated from Russia and thrown upon its own resources. 
If Baikal is closed for this time, the army will eat up 
some 25,000 tons of food and forage, and in these 
circumstances the reports received from many sides 
that the country is being raided of its cattle and 
supplies are only what might have been expected. We 
hear that prices have doubled throughout East Asia, 
and in many quarters there is already some scarcity of 
food ; it is quite possible that, for some time after the 
renewal of the through traffic, the question of supply 
may take precedence of reinforcement. It is not only 
the army of Manchuria that depends largely on the 
railway. The existence of a railway generally causes 
an atrophy in other and inferior means of communica- 
tion, and, when once these are reduced, they cannot 
immediately be restored. Thus we read that in the 
district of Irkutsk alone the local authorities have 
succeeded in compelling the government to grant them 
the use of fifteen raUway trucks every twenty-four 
hours for the service of the civil population, ana it is 
not likely that Irkutsk stands alone. There is no 
feeder to the railway, even west of Baikal, for nearly 
2,000 miles, and there are many towns upon the Une 
which have learnt to depend upon the railway as much 
as Irkutsk, and must be suffering equally from the 
stoppage of supplies. 

It is the intention of the Russian Government to 
despatch to the East the residue of the 10th and 17th 
Army Corps, which have been already drawn upon for 
reinforcements, but their transport seems to have been 



150 THE SITUATION IN APRIL 

delayed, and from many parts of Western Russia we 
have news of heavy trains, filled up with stores and 
supplies, encumbering the sidings and awaiting their 
turn to proceed. Everything, in short, has given way 
to the despatch of perhaps 70,000 men to the seat of 
war, and, so far as this operation is concerned, the 
movement has been successfully accomplished, almost 
exactly as was foreseen by those acquamted with the 
facilities offered by the railway. The despatch of the 
rest of the 10th and 17th Army Corps to the seat of 
war will take at least two months, so that for present 
purposes they need not be taken into account. Russia 
conceals her wounds and places a brave face upon 
affairs ; yet history will probably say that an almost 
intolerable strain was thrown upon the Russian com- 
munications, and our sympathies must be given to 
those hard-worked officers and railway officials who are 
so strenuously endeavouring to force the willing Russian 
camel through the eye of the still inflexible Trans- 
Siberian needle. 

With the advent of summer some relief will be 
experienced, since the waterways will enable supplies 
to be forwarded along the Amur, Sungari, and other 
great rivers. Nevertheless, the problem of the com- 
munications is a terrible anxiety, and it can only be by 
the exercise of the utmost forethought, vigilance, and 
prudence that the army now in Manchuria can be 
maintained on a level with requirements. These 
qualities are not those in which a Russian Adminis- 
tration usually excels, and when, to all the inherent 
difficulties, there is superadded the shock of Japanese 
attack and its reaction upon the rearward communica- 
tions, he would be sanguine, indeed, who would prophesy 
an easy or an early victory for the Russian arms. Longa 
injuria^ longae ambages. 



CHAPTER XVr 

THE BATTLE OF THE YALU 

The first serious land engagement of a campaign 
always deserves to be studied with care, in order that 
deductions may be drawn of a practical character. We 
now have the ofRcial reports from both sides concerning 
the battle of May 1, and these are usefully supple- 
mented by the interesting telegram from The Thnes 
correspondent at Tokio published on Friday last. 
From these sources it is possible to gain a clear idea 
of the course of the battle and to draw the conclusions 
warranted by the facts related. 

After the unsuccessful endeavour to surprise the 
Japanese cavalry at Chengju on March 28, the Cossacks 
of General Mishchenko withdrew to the Yalu, Wiju 
was evacuated, and no further endeavour made to resist 
the Japanese advance to the line of the river. But on 
the Manchurian side there had been a corps of observa- 
tion posted even before the outbreak of war, and as 
the Russian numbers increased it became possible to 
reinforce the troops at this point so as to place a 
living barrier before Kuroki's army. The Russian 
force on the Yalu appears to have been at first com- 
manded by a brigadier, then by a general of di\'ision, 
and finally by General Sassulitch, commanding the 
2nd Siberian Army Corps, and the importance of 
the Russian force doubtless grew with the rank of its 
commander. 

» The TintM, May 3 and 10, 1904. 
151 



152 THE BATTLE OF THE YALU 

Although the numbers actually engaged in the 
battle of May 1 only amounted on the Russian side 
to sixteen battalions of infantry with forty field and 
eight machine-guns, it is probable that other troops 
were in the vicinity belonging to General Sassulitch's 
command. It seems evident that the feints made by 
the Japanese from seaward had caused Mishchenko's 
Cossacks to be drawn away towards the coast, while 
Japanese reports mention the 28rd and 27th Regiments 
of East Siberian infantry, which were not engaged and 
may have been holding points either on the upper 
reaches of the river or on the line of communications. 
However this may be, the troops which took part in 
the battle included only the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 
22nd Regiments of East Siberian infantry, each of three 
battalions; one battalion of the 24th Regiment; five 
batteries of field artillery, each of eight guns ; a battery 
of eight machine guns, a sapper battalion, and some 
detachments of Cossacks of uncertain strength, or 20,000 
combatants all told. 

Had the other regiments and Mishchenko's Cossacks 
been present the numbers would have amounted to 
the 30,000 men named by General Kuroki in his first 
report, and this figure probably represented the real 
strength of General Sassulitch's command. It is neces- 
sarv to remark that the army corps organisation appears 
to have completely broken down at the very outset of 
operations, as it did in South Africa, since these troops 
belong to the 1st and 8rd Army Corps, and represent 
a mere fortuitous collection of units, the 8rd Division, 
properly belonging to the 3rd Army Corps, representing 
the only larger unit in any measure complete. 

When General Kuroki, after a difficult and fatiguing 
march from Seoul and Chinampo, reached the river and 
began to feel for his enemy at the various points of 
passage, he threatened the Russians over a wide front. 
1 he earlier Russian reports mention the appearance of 
the enemy a long distance up the river, while the 
Japanese navy distracted attention by threatening 



KUROKrS POSITION 153 

descents at various parts of the coast and estuary from 
a direction calculat«l to cause the Russian commander 
much disquiet. The reports concerning Japanese move- 
ments were forwarded to General Kuropatkin, who 
should have judged that the position had been held 
long enough to delay the enemy, and that, in view of 
the ease with which either flank could be turned, and 
in view, besides, of the superior numbers of the enemy, 
an obstinate stand in sucn an exposed position was a 
manifest and unjustifiable risk. We do not as yet 
know General Kuropatkin's view of the situation, but 
he probably desired to fend off the advance of the First 
Japanese Army as long as possible, and may have 
expected that a strong and confident force of 80,000 
Russians would be able to look after itself and to fall 
back fighting if unable to resist the passage of the river. 
He may have reckoned that his lieutenant could occupy 
successive positions until the Motienling was reached, 
where it became absolutely necessary to arrest the 
enemy or accept the loss of the whole position upon the 
passes leading mto the Liau Valley. 

During the week preceding the battle General 
Kuroki concentrated his army in the vicinity of Wiju 
and to the south-east of that town, and doubtless recon- 
noitred the Russian position day by day. Exclusive 
of detached posts, this position extended from Niang- 
nyangching and Antushan in the south to Makau and 
Yushukau in the north, a distance of some twenty 
miles. The centre was at Kiuliencheng, a walled town 
about 180 ft. above the river, and, from this point south- 
wards, the right, or Manchurian bank, has a considerable 
command over the left, or Korean side. Near Kiu- 
liencheng the Ai tributary joins the main stream, and 
below the junction the river widens from 4,000 to 7,000 
yards and runs in three channels between the islands 
and the mainland. The centre channel at this season 
is navigable by small craft, and the other channels are 
fordable waist-deep. The Ai River was also fordable 
in many places on May 1. On the right bank of the 



154 THE BATTLE OF THE YALU 

Yalu, and at the point of junction of the two streams, 
the ground rises at Husan and commands the Russian 
position, this high ground extending northward beyond 
Yulchawon and rendering the Russian left insecure 
from Makau to Yushukau. Husan was occupied by 
General Kashtalinsky with part of the 22nd Regiment 
up to the evening of April 80. The 9th and 10th 
Regiments, with two batteries, held the right of the 
position about Antung and to the south, while the 12th 
held the centre, the 11th remaining in reserve; the 
batteries were at first distributed along the line of front. 
During April 27 and 28 the Guards occupied KuHdo 
Island, and the 2nd Division crossed to Keumchongdo, 
driving the Russians off, and thus bringing the centre 
and left of the Russian position under fire of sharp- 
shooters on the islands and engaging their attention 
along their front. Further down the nver the attention 
of the Russians had also been distracted on the 25th 
and 26th by a scouting attack of the flotilla, which 
penetrated as far as Antszshan and silenced the Russian 
artillery after an hour's engagement. Thus the Russians 
were cleverly engaged all along their front, and it was 
not possible for their commander to know where the 
impending blow was likely to fall. 

The plan of the Japanese commander was to threaten 
attack on the lower radius of the river, to throw two 
divisions against Kiuliencheng, and to use the remaining 
division in a wide flanking movement across the river 
on his right. 

During the nights preceding the action of Sunday, 
battery emplacements were prepared on the left bank 
south-west of Wiju, so cunningly masked that their 
existence remained undetected, and here, as well as on 
the islands, a large force of artillery was placed in 
position, including twenty-four or more field guns of 
the Guards and 2nd Division, besides a number of 
heavier guns and howitzers. From these positions a 
very destructive fire could be brought to bear upon the 
centre of the Russian line and the left flank about 



GENERAL KASHTALINSKY 155 

Makau, a locality which seems to correspond with the 
Potietintzy of the Russian reports. 

On April 29 the 12th Division began to bridge 
the river at Sukuchin, thirteen miles above Kiulien- 
cheng, the point of passage of 1894, where the Yalu 
flows in a single stream 280 yards wide ; the operation 
was completed by 8 a.m. on the morning of the 80th, 
and the division crossed that day with only twenty- 
seven casualties. At 10 a.m. on the 80th the masked 
batteries near Wiju opened fire and cannonaded the 
Russian position at Kiuliencheng until five in the after- 
noon. 1 his fire occupied the attention of the Russians 
and prevented them firom interfering with the critical 
operation of the 12th Division. The advance of the 
12th Division from Sukuchin towards the Ai caused 
General Kashtalinsky to withdraw the 22nd Regiment 
to the right bank. The Guards Division by the night 
of the 29th had completed five bridges, utilising the 
islands of Kulido and Ochokdo, and crossed to Husan, 
while the naval flotilla occupied the attention of the 
Russians lower down. The 2nd Division threw a 
bridge to Lanjado and another to Keumgangdai, making 
ready to cross from the islands to the centre of the 
Russian position. By the night of Saturday, April 80, 
G^eral Kuroki had the best part of three divisions 
within striking distance of his enemy's left, and a very 
superior force of artillery ready to open fire. He there- 
fore telegraphed to Tokio that he proposed to attack at 
dawn on Sunday. 

General Kashtalinsky seems to have taken a per- 
fectly correct view of the situation, but whatever form 
his representations or advice may have assumed, it is 
evident that his senior meant fighting, and gave him a 
direct order to hold his ground. There v cis, therefore, 
nothing left for the 3rd Division but to see the matter 
through and do its best. The Japanese orders for 
May 1 were as follows. Tlie 12th Division was to cross 
the Ai at 8 a.m., to drive the enemy from the bluffs on 
the right bank, and then to intercept the retreat of the 



156 THE BATTLE OF THE YALU 

Russians from Kiuliencheng. The Guards were to cross 
by the bridges they had thrown, to pass over Husan 
and cross the Ai on the left of the 12th Division at 
8 a.m., and attack Makau and Yushukau. The 2nd 
Division was to cross from Keumgangdai and attack 
Kiuliencheng, then, turning down stream, to drive the 
enemy from Antung. The troops reached their assigned 
positions by 4 a.m., and everything was in readiness for 
the battle. 

The Japanese were astir betimes on Sunday, May 1, 
and by five in the morning the 12th Division deployed 
on a four-mile front, its right extending to Kiauhokau, 
and advanced boldly upon the fords of the Ai, covered 
by its guns and by the flanking fire of the Wiju batteries, 
which opened fire at 7 a.m. On the Russian side the 
fords were held by the three battalions of the 22nd 
Regiment, while the 12th was on the hills behind, 
supported by the 2nd and 3rd Batteries of the 6th Brigade 
and some machine-guns. Owing to the necessity for 
closing in to cross at the more practicable fords, the 
Japanese presented themselves in close fonnations at 
one moment, and suffered heavy loss. Nevertheless, 
they pressed on, while on their extreme right the left 
battalion of the 22nd Russian Regiment was routed and 
(Jeneral Kashtalinsky's flank turned. Regardless of losses, 
the 12th Japanese Division forded the Ai River, which 
was breast-deep, and began to swarm upon the position 
and subdue the fire of the defenders. The Guards and 
the 2nd Division also crossed, the latter especially 
coming under a hot fire, while many men were carried 
off their feet by the stream ; but 'the passage was won, 
and the Russian positions assaulted with the utmost 
impetuosity. It was not until midday, seven hours 
after the opening of the fight, that the first Russian 
reinforcement arnved, two battalions of the 11th Regi- 
ment and the 3rd Battery of the 3rd Brigade reaching 
the sorely-pressed commander. It was already too late 
to save the position, but it was all-important to make a 
stand until the 9th and 10th Regiments south of Antung 



<•- 




Gfsfrai Ku^ohatki 



RUSSIAN LEADERSHIP 157 

should have rejoined. The 11th Regiment and Lieut. - 
Colonel Mouravsky's battery sacrificed themselves for 
the safety of their comrades, and made a fine defence 
about Homutang, while, covered by these troops, the 
12th and 22nd Regiments withdrew. 

Meanwhile the Guards Division had crossed on the 
left of the 12th, and the two began to envelop the 
devoted regiment and batteries. It was at this time 
that the heavy losses of the 11th occurred; yet these 
fine troops held out against overwhelming numbers 
until close upon 8 p.m., when the first battalion of the 
10th Regiment, hastening up from the right, relieved 
the pressure and enabled a withdrawal to be begun. 
The three field batteries and the machine-guns had also 
done well, and it is no discredit to them to have lost 
their guns and " poulmettes " or buUet-scatterers after 
the faU of the greater number of their horses. 

The 2nd Japanese Division, after crossing the river, 
was directed upon Antung, doubtless in the belief that 
a large Russian force was still holding this point None 
of the reports detail the incidents of the retreat with 
much precision, and the silence on this point appears to 
indicate that the good countenance shown by tne 11th 
and 12th Regiments had not been without its effect. 

If we regard this action dispassionately, with the 
view of anticipating what the future may have in store 
for us, we shall probably conclude that in all respects 
save one the combatants are worthy of each other. It 
is in the higher command that Russia has failed so 
disastrously and fallen so lamentably far below the 
sanguine expectations of her friends, and neither arms 
nor courage avail if the sacred fire of leadership bums 
low. 

If the prime responsibility for this disaster falls, as it 
must, upon General Kuropatkin, it may also be admitted 
that his chief subordinate on the Yalu served him exces- 
sively ill. General SassuUtch knew that his flank was 
turned on the evening of the 80th, and that Kashtahnsky 
had only six battalions to place in line upon the left. 



158 THE BATTLE OF THE YALU 

He knew that a strong force was approaching the banks 
of the Ai, that the stream was fordable, and that failure 
here would jeopardise the whole line of battle and roll 
up his corps from north to south. Yet he did nothing, 
and left his subordinate to fight unaided for seven hours 
with his two batteries, some machine-guns, and six 
battalions against an overwhelming force of artillery and 
the twelve battalions of the 12th Division, backed up 
by two other intact and fresh divisions of the same 
strength. 

However fine may have been the attack of the 12th 
Japanese — and it is certain that it was led with skill 
and resolution deserving of the warmest praise — it is 
fair to say that there are not six battalions in Europe 
capable of withstanding the shock of two Japanese 
divisions, and that no soldier can have a word to say 
against the two regiments which failed in attempting 
the impossible. Once the left was turned and the posi- 
tion on this side crowned by the victorious Japanese, 
the day was lost. Nevertheless, the 11th Regiment and 
a fresh battery held their own upon a position in support, 
and, although eventually overborne by the rising tide of 
the attack of the Guards, did all that lay in mortals to 
retrieve the day, and by their steadfastness averted an 
even more overwhelming catastrophe. 

If, from the point of view of the higher command, 
the battle on the Yalu is all the more damning for 
Russian leadership the more it is studied, it is also true 
to say that the Russian troops maintained their ancient 
reputation and allow the friends of Japan no promise of 
facile victories. A coldly impartial judgment of the 
combat affords no ground for anticipating a speedy 
conclusion of the war given fairly equal numbers, unless 
Russian generals continue to place their men in situations 
where defeat is certain without the occurrence of a 
miracle. Whether the Russians will ever oppose equal 
or preponderating numbers to their enemy is another 
question, but it seems to be clear that they have no 
particular reason to anticipate victory until they do. 



THE JAPANESE PONTOON 159 

For Japanese leading, pluck, and admirable organisa- 
tion no praise can be too high. Colonel Vannovsky, 
late Russian military attach^ in Japan, recently made 
the unfortunate statement that he did not expect any- 
thing extraordinary from General Kuroki ; but the 
question of immediate interest is not whether we may 
expect anything extraordinary from Japanese generals, 
but whether the talent of Russian generals comes up to 
the average of the ordinary. 

As a model of troop-leading the battle on the Yalu 
was a very brilliant affair, proving that the Japanese 
Staff possesses military merit of the highest order. The 
men were also splendid, and the whole military machine 
worked like clockwork. 

Owing to the great preponderance of the Japanese 
artillery and the appearance of heavy field guns on the 
battlefield, it is not possible to compare the merits of 
the rival gunners ; but it is certain that the Japanese 
understand how to combine the action of infantry and 

Suns, and have the genius for modem battle very highly 
eveloped. 

Not the least admirable detail of the Japanese service 
is the pontoon train, which performed such useful service. 
The Japanese pontoon is 24 ft. long, 4 ft. wide, and has 
a buoyancy of^ 5,500 lb. It is divided into two halves, 
each of which can be used as a boat, while these again 
are divisible into three sections, two of which form a 
load for a pack animal. Thus roadless and mountainous 
country has no terrors for the Japanese pontooner, and 
some of us may recall with a shudder those enormous 
and ponderous barges which were dragged painfully 
about the valley of the Tugela by long teams of oxen, 
and may wonder what the Japanese attachd thought of 
the art of British war. 

When the Emir Mahmud came down the Nile with 
20,000 warriors and sat down in the Atbara position far 
away from his 50,000 friends at Omdurman and within 
striking distance of the Anglo-Egyptian army, he 
established a precedent which the Russians have slavishly 



160 THE BATTLE OF THE YALU 

followed. He was destroyed; and if we compare 
Russian with Dervish strategy the balance of merit 
rests with the Khalifa, since neither he nor his brave 
emirs were in a position to multiply their own experiences 
by reading and reflection, the principal distinction 
between civilised men and barbarians. If the defeat on 
the Yalu was thoroughly well deserved by the Russians, 
the victory of the Japanese was none tiie less highly 
meritorious. They reaped the fiiU harvest of their 
maritime successes, utilising the aid of their river flotilla ; 
they wasted no time in discursive and aimless fighting, 
and when the hour struck they acted decisively and witihi 
their whole united force. After all the appalling incom- 
petence which some modem campaigns have introduced 
to our notice, it is a pleasure to the soldier, whatever it 
may be to the humanitarian, to see the sword once more 
wielded by a master of fence. 

Although the defeat of a fraction of the Tsar's huge 
army carries with it nothing that need necessarily be 
decisive, the consequences of this battle promise to be 
far-reaching indeed. It is a profound humiliation for a 
great military empire. Rivals and subject races alike 
have waited for Russia to make good her boasts and 
affirm the predominance to which she both aspires and 
pretends. She has given battle on ground of her own 
choosing, and has been badly beaten by a despised and 
Oriental enemy. The echoes of the battle ^ will rever- 
berate afar, and distant is the day when the story will 
weary in the telling, among the races of the unforgiving 
East. 

* The Japanese lost 318 killed, including 6 officers, and 783 wounded, 
including 33 officers ; 1,363 Russian dead were buried and 613 made priBonera. 
llie Japanese captured 21 3-iu. quick-firing field guns, 8 machine-guns, 1,021 
rifles, besides ammunition, clothing, tents and provisions. 



CHAPTER XVII ' 

THE LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY 

Admiral. Togo's perseverance has at last met with 
well-merited reward. 

The necessity for securing the safety of the maritime 
communications of the army by all possible means had 
led him to make two previous attempts to block the 
narrow entrance channel to Port Arthur by sinking 
merchant vessels in the fairway. On February 24 five 
ships were sent in manned by 77 volunteers, but despite 
the utmost coolness and audacity on the part of these 
men the attempt failed. At 2 a.m. on March 27 the 
effort was renewed, and four steamers of 2,000 tons 
each were sent in to their doom. This operation was 
directed by Commander T. Hirose, who m this, as in 
the previous attempt, displayed the highest qualities of 
skill and daring. Nevertheless, this gallant effort again 
failed, and the leader of it met a noble death. 

The Japanese are not people to be deterred from 
their purpose by preliminary failures, and as it was 
considered indispensable to secure the Second Army fix)m 
any molestation on the part of the Russian ships in 
Port Arthur, the Japanese navy prepared once more 
to sacrifice themselves for the national cause. 

Of the eight old steamers, aggregating over 17,000 
tons, which were driven into the entrance channel to 
Port Arthur on the night of May 2, despite mines, 
batteries, and torpedoes, no fewer than five reached 

> From articles in The Times of May 2, 7, 9 aiid 12, 1904. 
161 Jl 



162 THE LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY 

tlieir allotted positions at the entrance to tlie channel, 
and, of these, two broke through the booms and were 
sunk in the fairway. It is declared that the^xit of any 
vessel larger than torpedo craft is now impossible, and, 
if this prove to be the case, the landing operations now 
in progress on an extensive scale will gain very con- 
siderably in security. 

The following is the text of Admiral Togo's 
report : — 

" Combined fleet effected 3rd May the third blocking 
operation of Port Arthur. ^ 

" Akagi, Chokaiy 2nd, 8rd, 4th, 5th destroyer flotillas, 
9th, 10th, 14th torpedo-boat flotillas with steamers 
started 2nd May. 

"Strong wind soon arising greatly hindered move- 
ment. 

" Commander ordered to stop operation, but the 
order did not reach, and eight steamers proceeded and 
dashed harbour despite enemy's searchlight, fortress 
fire, observation mines, and mechartical mines. 

"Five steamers gained harbour mouth, especially 
the Mikawa Maru and Totomi MarUy breaking booms, 
reached further inside. 

" Entrance is considered effectively blocked, at least 
for cruisers and battleships. 

" Three other steamers sunk before reaching mouth. 

" Our flotillas remained till morning and rescued half 
of the crews of the sunken steamers. 

" Torpedo-boat No. 67 steam-pipe hit and disabled, 
but towed away by torpedo-boat No. 70. Aotaka 
damaged port engine, but safe. 

" Flotilla's casualties three wounded, two killed ; no 
other damage." 

Admiral Togo added later that — 

" The undertaking, when compared with the two last 
attempts, involved a heavier casualty on our side o\^ing 
to the inclemency of the weather and increased prepara- 
tion for defence of the enemy. We could not save any 
of the officers and men of the Otani Ma7iiy Salami 



TOGO'S REPORT 163 

Maru^ Sakura Maru^ and Asagwwo Mai^^ and 1 regret 
that nothing particular could be learned about the 
gallant way in which they discharged their duties, 
although the memory of their exemplary conduct will 
long survive in the Imperial navy. 

" The destroyer and torpedo flotillas, besides resist- 
ing the enemy bravely, fought against the wind and 
waves. The torpedo flotilla closely approached the 
mouth of the channel and rescued more than half of 
the men. Torpedo-boat 67, which had a steam-pipe 
broken by a sbell, was disabled, but her consort, 
torpedo-boat 70, went to her assistance and towed her 
away. Three of the crew were wounded. 

" The destroyer Awovta had her port engine 
damaged by a shell and one sailor was killed. A 
sailor in the torpedo-boat Hayabusa was also killed 
by a shell" 

The heroism of the officers and crews of the doomed 
ships was as fine as anything recorded in the annals of 
naval war, and, even if it stood alone, would stamp the 
Japanese navy as a service worthy to take rank with 
the best. Out of 159 men on board the steamers, 
only 8 officers and 36 men returned unhurt, while the 
whole of the remainder, including 20 officers, were 
killed, wounded, or missing. The success of the opera- 
tion made escape difficult, while the heavy weather 
prevented the attendant torpedo craft from taking off 
all the crews, as they have gallantly done on previous 
occasions, when the ships went down. However much 
we may regret this heavy loss, we can only feel the 
deepest admiration for a navy which has been able to 
pertorm such a gallant act and for a nation which boasts 
such splendid sons. Happy indeed is the country where 
bravery and intelligence are combined in so just a 
measure ! 

The Japanese are following very closely the 
precedent of 1894 and have once more chosen Pitszewo 
as the point of landing for the army destined to clear 
the road for the attack on Port Arthur, The successful 



164 THE LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY 

blocking of Port Arthur was obviously the preliminary 
to this action on the part of the Second Army 
under General Baron Oku, which had been waiting at 
the Hall group of islands off the west coast of Korea, 
massed in its transports, until the result of the Yalu 
and of the blocking operation became known. 

It may be recalled that during the war with China, 
the Second Army, consisting of the 1st and 6th Divisions 
under Marshal Oyama, landed on October 24 at the 
mouth of the Huaguan River, east of Pitszewo. Then, 
as doubtless now, ships had to lie off four miles, and low 
tide exposed three mues of mud flats ; nevertheless, this 
point is the only one on this coast, as the Russians ought 
to have known, where troops can be landed on the rocks 
at high tide, and, in matters of landing-places, beggars 
must not be choosers. From General Pflug's report it 
appears that the Japanese first appeared on the evening 
of the 4th and began their landmg early on the 5th 
under cover of artillery fire from the ^nboats. Nothing 
more formidable than a few Russian patrols was en- 
countered, and these appear to have quickly dispersed 
without offering any serious opposition. A landing 
party of sailors under Captain Nomoto, of Admiral 
Hosoya's division, took the lead, and as the tide was low 
this party was compelled to wade ashore for 1,000 yards 
in water breast-deep, an operation which might have 
been rendered extremely difficult had the Russian patrols 
displayed a semblance of energy. Being unopposed, 
the sailors reached the shore at 7.20 a.m. and acteJi as a 
covering party, taking possession of a range of hills and 
planting the Japanese nag once more upon the Liautung 
Peninsula. 

The first fleet of transports, as Admiral Hosoya 
describes it, began to land troops at 8 a.m. and, according 
to the Russian account, this hrst fleet consisted of 60 
transports and succeeded in landing 10,000 men before 
night, a very remarkable feat considering the indifferent 
nature of the landing-place. According to another 
report the Second Army includes the 1st and two other 



PORT ARTHUR INVESTED 165 

Divisions, and, in view of the numbers already landed 
and the absence of any effective Russian field force, the 
operation must be presumed to have succeeded. General 
Pflug adds that two columns, each about the strength 
of a regiment, set out in a westerly and south-westerly 
direction after landing, and the next point of interest 
will be to learn whether the mobile troops of the Port 
Arthur rarrison are able to attack or resist the troops 
first landed with any hope of success. On the whole 
the chances appear to be against any serious inter- 
ference with the Japanese plans, and as landing-piers are 
being erected, a second contingent of troops is expected, 
and a strong boom is in position to protect the transports 
off the shore, it may be anticipated that the Second 
Army will soon be ashore in sufficient strength to be 
quite secure. 

The first objective of the army landed will certainly 
be Dalny and Talienwan Bay, since a more uninviting 
base than Pitszewo would be difficult to find, and the 
army attacking Port Arthur requires, before anything 
else, a harbour where its stores, heavy guns, and trans- 
ports can be landed in all security. Talienwan was 
made the base in 1894 before the army moved forward 
for the attack on Port Arthur, and history is likely to 
repeat itself up to a certain point. 

As for Port Arthur, it is for practical purposes 
already invested, and the Viceroy, like Sir John French 
at Ladysmith, appears to have made his second exit by 
the last train. At the outbreak of war Port Arthur 
was in a very poor state of defence ; many of the land 
forts were unfinished and unarmed, and it is probably 
true that the supplies had been allowed to fall to a very 
low ebb. During the long period that has elapsed since 
hostilities began all these conditions must have entirely 
changed, and if Port Arthur does not prove an exces- 
sively hard nut to crack the Russian War Office should 
put up its shutters and retire from business. 

Although the Russians now tell us that there is onlv 
a very small garrison at Port Arthur, the numbers Mrill 



166 THE LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY 

soon be accurately known to the Japanese, and it seems 
probable that there are at least 28,000 troops in the 
town besides 10,000 sailors, many of whom will probably 
be used ashore for the defence of this eastern SevastopoL 
As to the supplies, only the Russian War Office and 
General StosseFs Staff are likely to know the exact 
quantity, but the assurance we are given that there is 
now a year's supplies may not be very far from the 
truth. It must be remembered that nearly all the 
Chinese coolies have been evicted or have fled, and a 
good part of the civil population has followed their 
example. There remains only the garrison, and the 
number of railway trains required to bring up supplies 
for 28,000 men for a year is by no means considerable. 
The chances are, therefore, that Port Arthur will not 
fall by famine this year, and the question that remains 
open is whether the Japanese will resort to simple 
investment, siege, or bombardment followed by assault. 
A great deal will depend upon the course of operations 
elsewhere, and particularly upon the action or inaction 
of the Baltic squadron. 

If there is any spirit left in the Russian flotilla at 
Port Arthur, and if there is still a passage open by 
which torpedo boats and destroyers can come out, it is 
now or never for a night attack upon the transports ; but 
as this must be realised on both sides it may be antici- 
pated with some confidence that Admu al Togo's inshore 
squadron is keeping an uncommonly sharp look-out, and 
that nothing can escape unseen and unfought save by 
one of those lucky accidents of which no sailor is 
master. 

The Second Army may reckon itself relatively secure 
from an offensive return on the part of the Russian army 
in the Liau Valley. There are two Japanese armies 
still unaccounted for. General Kuropatkin already has 
his hands full to repair the disaster incurred by his 
lieutenant on the Yalu, and a march down the Liautung 
Peninsula with two Japanese armies still hovering over 
the broad seas offers no sort of allurement whatsoever. 



COLONEL GADKE 167 

Even when the Second Army is landed there will be 
still seven active divisions thirsting for action, and 
behind them the reserve field armies, the composition of 
which in time of war is the closest secret of a general 
staff. There is no doubt that the organisation of reserve 
armies plays a part, and a very important part, in the 
Japanese organisation, but pundits disagree as to the 
exact shape these formations will assume. In any case, 
it is certain that not one-half the Japanese active army 
has yet entered the field, and that even when it has 
there will still remain the power of placing fresh troops 
in the field for any purpose the course of the campaign 
may dictate. If General Sakharoff and his bruliant 
staff at St. Petersburg are still unaware of the fact, so 
much the worse for their cause. 

Colonel Gadke, whose letters from Kharbin contain 
the best information we have yet received concerning 
the Russian army, does not grow more optimistic con- 
cerning the fortunes of his Russian hosts as time wears 
on. He declares, on the contrary, that the actual 
beginning of the campaign is still remote, and states in 
one of his last letters that the Russian army will be 
occupied for weeks or probably for months in its 
mobilisation and preparations. He appears to anticipate 
that the Japanese will await the moment of Russian 
readiness. The German and Austrian military attaches 
with the Russian anny have also been credited with 
the belief that serious operations would not begin before 
the end of August. That has been the parrot cry from 
the Russian side, and it has doubtless corresponded 
with Russian desires. These forecasts are very illumi- 
nating, but one does not quite see where the Japanese 
anny comes in. The two armies have been in contact 
for some time, and nothing but a timely retreat could 
have prevented the serious collision which has now 
occurred. Considering the large force Russia has 
assembled south of Mukden and the contempt with 
wliich the Russian army professes to regard its enemy, 
it was always a matter of doubt whether General 



168 THE LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY 

Kuropatkin would have been able to refuse battle, even 
though his better judgment had been against fighting 
until a larger army was assembled. The Russian army 
is very confident and rates its adversary very low. 
Time and the result of the Yalu battle will show 
whether this confidence is justified, but it was not, 
perhaps, to have been expected that the Russians would 
give way without a battle. The Russian army knows 
what Suvaroff had to say on the subject of retreats, and 
can hardly be expected to relish them. 

The situation in the Amur district is somewhat 
obscure. (Jeneral Linievitch, who was in command of 
the Army of Manchuria under the Viceroy up to the 
time of Kuropatkin's arrival on the scene, is said to 
have been appointed to the command on this side, and 
the Viceroy is alleged to have delegated to him certain 
civil powers in the district in question. It is certain 
that there are still some senior officers in East Asia 
who regard themselves as AlexeiefTs men — officers who 
have been long in the East and are inclined to resent 
any encroachment upon a sphere in which they have 
hitherto ruled as masters. There are East Siberian as 
there are East Indian county families. So long as the 
Viceroy maintains his position and his nominees retain 
theirs there is some chance of finction between these 
contending parties. If the Russian army in the mass 
is a more passive tool than any other in the world, the 
corps of officers contains many clever, ambitious men 
and masterftil spirits who are as jfree in their criticism 
of superiors as any regimental mess in England, and 
much more apt for intrigue. It is quite clear jfrom 
Colonel Gadke's letters that the officers arriving from 
Western Russia place all the blame for past failures 
upon the Viceroy and his party ; they criticise sharply 
the division of the naval squadron between the two 
ports, and complain that their military strength is being 
frittered away. It is not a favourable picture that is 
presented, and when the German colonel adds that the 
army is not ready for active operations and that tlie 



JAPANESE INTENTIONS 169 

railway is not suitable for mass transport and cannot 
be made so, he draws a picture of Russian unreadiness 
which cannot fail to impress his readers. 

From the Russian official reports, dated May 8, 9, 
and 11, we learn that the First Japanese Army, after 
occupying Fenghwangchenn on the 6th, remained halted 
and sent out reconnaissances along the main road to 
Liauyang and along the parallel tracks to the right 
and left. Huangtiangsia, forty-four miles north-east of 
Fenghwangchenn, was occupied by Japanese on the 
5th, and on the same day some of their troops were 
encountered marching north from Takushan, where the 
landing of a fresh army appears to have been success- 
fully effected. On the 8th and 9th other troops, which 
are believed to have been the Japanese Guards Division, 
were reported to be marching from Fenghwangchenn 
towards Haicheng. 

These reports of the Russian Staff, fragmentary 
though they are, give a better idea of the situation than 
the abundant rumours which come in with perplexing 
variety from other sources, and they seem to show that 
the Japanese are deploying on a wide front upon a 
general Une running north-east and south-west through 
Fenghwangchenn. 

Considering that the Russian field army available at 
and near Liauyang is stronger than that which General 
Kuroki commands, and that the Russian strength and 
position are probably well known to the Japanese, 
the idea that the latter are about to hurl the First 
Army upon Liauyang, unsupported, is contrary to all 
probability. 

Our allies have told us much of the landings on the 
Liautung Peninsula — at least up to a certain point — but 
they wisely said nothing of their intentions on the side 
of Takushan, or of movements on General Kuroki s 
right flank, and we are still without definite news of 
the situation and intentions of the greater part of the 
Japanese army. .Judging, however, from the position 
of the First Army between the 6th and 9th, as disclosed 



170 THE LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY 

in the Russian reports, we are bound to assume that 
this is no isolated movement, and that other troops are 
combining their action with the operation thus far 
disclosed. The general idea seems to be a deployment 
on a very broad front, followed by an advance along 
parallel roads, or tracks over the hills, upon the Russian 
positions. Whether the weight of this attack will be 
thrown on the right, left, or centre there is nothing at 
present to show us, and the only thing certain is that 
every movement by the Japanese right is strategically 
the most dangerous for the Russians. 

General Kuropatkin may very properly hope to 
unite his force and retrieve the disaster on the Yalu by 
a blow struck at one or other of the columns separated 
in the mountains. But what is simple in theory is 
often hard in practice. Those acquainted with the 
peculiar conditions of war on the Alpine frontier of 
Italy are aware that, even with the fine roads traversing 
some of the valleys in that region, an army exceeding 
the strength of 60,000 men cannot be usefully employed 
upon any single line of operations or in any single 
valley, since a greater number cannot be deployed and 
brought into action and are, therefore, only an encum- 
brance. In point of general accessibility the region 
now approached by the Japanese has something of the 
same characteristics, and even if it be attacked by a 
superior Russian force, the First Army is strong enough, 
provided its flanks are protected in neighbouring valleys, 
to resist any direct attack with success. Meanwhile the 
parallel columns continue their movements and threaten 
the flanks and rear of the attacking column. Mountain 
warfare, like every other form of the art of war, has 
changed its practice with the creation of national 
armies, and many things become possible and even 
advisable which were neither one nor the other in the 
good old days. 

If we place ourselves in Kuropatkin s position we 
must admit that he is not greatly to be euN ied. His 
front is parallel with his line of retreat, and every day 



KUROPATKIN'S POSITION 171 

that passes will make him more alive to the disadvantage. 
He has accumulated, according to Colonel Gadke, sup- 
phes for 200,000 up to July 1 at Liauyang and Mukden, 
and he must defend, destroy, or abandon them. He 
holds, or should hold, a concentrated position, but there 
his advantage ends ; and these sinuous Japanese columns 
which begin to wind their lengths along all the mountain 
passes to the south and east must make it clear to him 
that his enemy is meditating a very big coup indeed. 

In the Liautung Peninsula the Russians have been 
very energetic in repairing their damaged railway, and 
have contrived to bring in a train full of ammunition 
to the town. Nevertheless, the advance of the Second 
Japanese Army along the eastern shore continues, 
covered by the warships off the coast, and two regi- 
ments, forming the head of their advanced guard, 
passed the night of May 8 at Sanchilipu station. It 
must therefore be judged, as already assumed, that 
Dalny is the first objective and that the investment of 
Port Arthur, momentarily averted, is now accomplished, 
unless the garrison has been able to stay the progress 
of the assailant by a successful fight. In Korea itself a 
small party of Cossacks who shpped round the Japanese 
right have attacked Anjii without success. As the base 
of the First Army will now be Antung and its com- 
munications will pass by the sea, these raids in Northern 
Korea are destined to be barren of consequence. Never- 
theless it will be well for the Japanese to pay attention 
to the defence of Northern Korea, since it appears to 
be a favourite scheme of the Russians to cause trouble 
in the peninsula if they can secure a footing. 



CHAPTER XVIir 

THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA' 

The official accounts of the battle on the Yalu disclose 
the fact, hitherto rather suspected than ascertained, that 
the Russian army corps organisation has signally broken 
down. Many other circumstances combine to show us 
that the Army of Manchuria is still in the melting-pot, 
and that the finished article will not be turned out for 
many a long day. 

It has not been the business of the allies of Japan to 
lay stress upon the faults which Russia has perpetrated 
in the organisation of her field army ; but now that the 
action taken has passed beyond all reasonable hope of 
redemption, the composition of this army may fittmgly 
form the subject of a few remarks. 

The paper organisation of the Army of Manchuria 
is approximately as follows : 

1st Army Corps 

(General Baron Stackelberg). 

1st East Siberian Rifle Division : 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 

Regiments. 
2nd East Siberian Rifle Division : 5th, 6th, 7th, and 

8th Regiments. 
6th East Siberian Rifle Division: 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 

24th Regiments. 
Artillery : Twelve batteries East Siberian Artillery. 

» The TimeM, May IG, 1904. 

' The ordre de bataille changed almost contitiually during the war until it 
reached the final form given in Appendix. 

172 



THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA 173 

Cavalry: 1st Nertchinsk Cossacks, Littoral Dragoons, 

and Ussuri Cossacks. 
Engineers : 1st Battalion of Sappers of East Siberia. 

2nd Army Coups 

( G eneral Sassulitch ). 

5th East Siberian Rifle Division : 17th, 18th, 19th, and 

20th Regiments. 
7th East Siberian Rifle Division : 25th, 26th, 27th, and 

28th Regiments. 
8th East Siberian Rifle Division : 29th, 30th, 31st, and 

32nd Regiments. 
Artillery : Ten batteries East Siberian Artillery. 
Cavalry: 1st Argunsk Cossacks, 1st Amur Cossacks, 

and one Trans- Baikal Horse Artillery battery. 
Engineers : 2nd Battalion of Sappers of East Siberia. 

3rd Army Corps 

(General Stossel). 

8rd East Siberian Rifle Division : 9th, 10th, 11th, and 

12th Regiments. 
4th East Siberian Rifle Division : 13th, 14th, 15th, and 

16th Regiments. 
9th East Siberian Rifle Division : 33rd, 34th, 35th, and 

36th Regiments. 
Artillery : Twelve batteries East Siberian Artillery. 
Cavalry: Trans-Baikal Cossack Brigade, 1st Chitinsk, 

1st Veckhnie Udinsk, and one Trans-Baikal Horse 

Artillery battery. 
Engineers : 3rd Battalion of Sappers of East Siberia. 

4th Army Corps 

(General ZarubaiefF). 

1st Siberian Reserve Infantry Division : 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 

and 4th Regiments. 
2nd Siberian Reserve Infantry Division : 5th, 6th, 7th, 

and 8th Regiments. 
8rd Siberian Reserve Infantry Division : 9th, 10th, 11th, 

and 12th Regiments. 
Artillery : Twelve batteries Siberian Reserve Artillery. 
Cavalry unallotted. 



174 THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA 

FitoNTiER Guards. 
Four Brigades, 23,000 men with 48 guns, now being 
increased to 33,000 with 80 guns. 

Railway Tuoops. 
Trans-Amur Brigade, four battalions, 6,500 men. 
Ussuri Brigade, two battalions, 3,500 men. 

Independent Cavalry Divisions. 

1. Trans-Baikal Cossack Division : 2nd Veckhnie 

Udinsk, 2nd Argunsk, 2nd Nertchinsk, and 1st 
Chitinsk, with the 3rd and 4th Horse Artillery 
Batteries of Trans-Baikal Cossacks. 

2. Siberian Cossack Division : 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 

possibly the 6th and 9th Siberian Cossacks, all of 

the second and third categories. The arrival of this 

division in Manchuria has not yet been ascertained. 
Fortress Artillery. 
Four battalions, 4,000 men, ordered to be increased 

to 6,000. 

Units Unaijlotted. 
Eighteen squadrons of Cossacks of Ussuri, Amur, etc. 
Corps of Russian Volunteers. 

Mounted Brigade of Caucasian Volunteers (not arrived). 
Two Trans- Baikal Cossack battalions. 
3rd Don Cossack Battery. 
Sixteen battalions of infantry of the 10th and 17th 

Army Corps. 
Six batteries attached to above. 
Sapper pontoon company and East Siberian Pontoon 

Battalion. 
Three batteries machine-guns, attached to the 1st, 9th, 

and 17th East Siberian Regiments. 
Heavy field artillery, numbers and calibre doubtfiil. 
I^ocal Volunteer corps, etc. 

If all the above troops were in Manchuria, which is 
not the case, and if, being there, they were available 
to take the field, which they are not, the total com- 
batant force would be 223,000 rifles, 21,764 sabres. 



THE FOUR ARMY CORPS 175 

496 field, 30 horse artillery, and 24 machine-guns, 
besides 4,000 engineers. But we must deduct the 
4th Siberian Army Corps, which is only now crossing 
Lake Baikal, and the Siberian Cossack Division, which 
has never been reported east of Baikal ; we must also 
strike off the frontier guards with their guns, besides 
the railway and fortress troops. This reduces the field 
army available throughout the entire area of operations 
to 126,000 infantry, 15,000 sabres, 320 field, 80 horse, 
and 24 machine-guns, besides 4,000 engineers. These 
figures allow each unit its authorised war strength, and 
take no account of losses or sickness. If we assume 
that the war strengths are complete, which is improbable, 
and deduct 10 per cent, for sick and also the losses on 
the Yalu, the figure is reduced to 113,400 rifles, 13,500 
sabres, 300 field, 80 horse, and 16 machine-guns. That 
is, at the outside, the field a»n.yof Manchuria at the 
present hour and until the 4ih Army Corps begins to 
reach the scene of action. 

Before considering the number of field troops which 
General Kuropatkin can have at immediate disposal 
south of Mukden, a few explanations respecting the 
four army corps are necessary. It will be seen that the 
backbone of the first three army corps is composed of 
108 battalions of East Siberian Rifles, thirty-six to each 
corps. Last autumn these regiments formed six bri- 
gades, or forty-eight battalions ; but by a prikazc of 
October 30 a 7th and 8th brigade were created out of 
the fortress regiments at Port Arthur and Vladivostok, 
and a 9th brigade was added later. Thus sixty new 
field battalions were hastily created almost out of 
nothing at the opening of hostilities, and even the 
original forty-eight battalions had themselves to be com- 
pleted by drafts from Europe, since it is now known 
that they were only 700 strong when the war began. 
Each regiment of the nine brigades was next increased 
from two to three battalions, the men for this purpose 
being also drawn from western garrisons. The 48 
units of last year thus grew to 108, officers and men. 



176 THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA 

equally ignorant of each other and of the country, being 
bundled into the ranks in primitive fashion. Thus the 
solidity of good regiments was impaired, and even the 
East Siberian Rifles, the best Russian troops in East 
Asia, lost something of their previous efficiency. 

It was apparently the first intention to add a fourth 
battalion to each regiment, but this proposal appears to 
have been dropped, and the only nirther change has 
been an alteration of title of the East Siberian Iirfantry 
from rifle brigades to rifle divisions, and the attachment, 
in principle, of three to four field batteries to each 
division. This act, with the practical lapse of the army 
corps organisation, points to a momentary intention to 
work in divisions, each of the latter having now the 
same number of battalions as a Japanesedivision — namely, 
twelve — but only twenty-four to thirty-two guns against 
the Japanese thirty-six. 

Subject to the above explanations, the organisation 
of the 1st Army Corps calls for no special remark. Its 
6th Division was apparently under General Sassulitch on 
the Yalu, but only the 22nd Regiment and one battalion 
of the 24th took part in the fighting. As to the other 
two divisions of this corps, it is best to reckon them as 
available under Kuropatkin's hand, although the failure 
of correspondents to differentiate between brigades 
(now divisions) and regiments makes it difficult to speak 
with certainty. 

As to the 2nd Army Corps, it appears to represent 
more a counsel of perfection than a solid fact. The 7th 
and 8th Divisions of this corps form the nucleus of the 
garrisons of Port Arthur and Vladivostok. They are 
generally omitted by foreign miUtary critics from their 
calculations of the Russian field army, and until proof 
is given that they have been withdrawn from the for- 
tresses they may perhaps be ignored. In any case, they 
are troops of secondary value, since their 24 battalions 
have been evolved from six existing in time of peace — 
that is to say, that they have been quadrupled on mobi- 
lisation. It is, of course, possible that a division may 



THE FOUR ARMY CORPS 177 

be made up of the four unallotted regiments of the 10th 
and 17th Corps, and in this case the 2nd Army Corps 
would consist of two divisions. 

In the 3rd Army Corps the 9th Division is in hke 
case with the 7th and 8th — that is to say, newly formed 
from heterogeneous elements — while KashtaUnsky's 8rd 
Division has recently been badly mauled ; the 4th Divi- 
sion, however, is intact and available, though its position 
has not yet been ascertained. It was at first the in- 
tention to bring up the remainder of the 10th and 17th 
Army Corps from the west and to unite them with the 
two brigades of these corps sent to Manchuria last year, 
but, probably owing to the extraordinary difficulty of 
moving the vast transport of a regular corps over the 
Trans-Siberian, this project was postponed, and the 4th 
Army Corps was created out of the Siberian regiments 
of reserve and given precedence upon the railway. 

At the outbreak of war the Siberian military district 
had two reserve brigades, each of four battaUons, or 
eight in all. From these meagre elements three divi- 
sions of 48 battalions were created — that is to say, that 
each existing battaUon gave birth to five others, on a 
principle long accepted for Russian reserve troops, but 
never yet seriously tested in war. It is not wonderfiil 
that the arrival of the 4th Army Corps is stUl awaited, 
neither will it be wonderful if it fails to stand the racket- 
ing of another Yalu fight on a larger scale. The Russian 
reserve troops are in the nature of militia, and the pre- 
ference given to them over the regular battalions of 
regiments in the west is only another proof that Russia 
has entirely failed even now to grasp the problem with 
which she is confronted. 

As regards the artillery of the first three army corps, 
the Russian military press now describes all the 272 guns 
as quick-firers, and we must assume this to be correct 
In certain units there has been an expansion not dis- 
similar to that of the reserve infantry, the twelve 
Siberian batteries, for instance, having been evolved 
out of only two existing in February last, and others 

12 



178 THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA 

are in like case. A more rash and inexcusable blunder 
it would be difficult to perpetrate. 

Anything is apparently considered good enough to 
beat Japan, and the cavalry is composed almost entirely 
of Cossacks of the Eastern voiskoSy who have no serious 
experience of war or campaigning. To form General 
SimonofF's independent division of Siberian Cossacks, 
which has disappeared since its mobilisation, there were 
only 18 squadrons existing in the Siberian military 
district last February, and these have expanded into 
six regiments, the deficiency in officers being made good 
by volunteers from the Russian dragoons. The greater 
part of the rest of the Cossacks comes from the Trans- 
Baikal voisko, which possessed 24 squadrons, or four 
regiments, before the war. General Rennenkampf s 
independent division alone has four regiments, and there 
are four others with the corps cavalry. None of these 
Cossacks are to be reckoned the equals of those whose 
homes are on the Don and to the north of the Caucasus, 
and it has been with silent satisfaction that opponents 
of Russian policy in the East have watched the steady 
influx into East Asia of elements which certainly possess 
military value, but of a kind that can only be reckoned 
as the second best. 

Given the extreme difficulty of maintaining more 
than 250,000 men in Russian East Asia, until the rail- 
way is radically improved, and given also Japanese 
efficiency and numbers, it was obvious that every man 
and every regiment Russia put in the field should have 
been of the highest quality to enable this campaign to 
be waged with a serious prospect of success. The 
Siberian and Baikal reservists are certainly fine, hardy 
fellows, and on the score of raw material we can only 
take off our hats to the Russian regiments. But, qtui 
army, Kuropatkin's force is a shaoby improvisation, 
possessing none of the qualities that make an army 
lormidable save good arms, gallantry, and fine physique. 
The men at St. Petersburg responsible for this carica- 
ture of organisation have much to answer for. Our 



FAULTS AND EXCUSES 179 

own pride has been too rudely shaken in the last few 
years for us to re-echo those insults, sarcasms, and pro- 
phecies of doom which were showered upon us from 
Russia four years ago. Every fault that we committed 
Russia has copied, measure for measure, and she has 
only outdone us by losing in her first encounter one 
gun more than we lost in three years of a harassing but 
never doubtful war. But, at least, we met improvisation 
by improvisation, and we were not called upon to dash 
our hastily formed levies upon the lines of a numerous 
and highly organised regular army, backed up by the 
adjacent and resistless weight of a patriotic and united 
people nearly fifty millions in number. 

It is very unconvincing for the Novoe Vremya to 
lament that Russia is only now aroused to the sense 
of her danger. If Russian journalists had read Tlie 
Tvnes^ instead of confiding in the optimism of the 
Central European press, they might perhaps have de- 
served better of their country. But this is not all. If 
the Russian Government will turn up the dossier of the 
allied operations against Peking, deposited among the 
archives of the Russian War Office, they will find 
the Japanese army described with almost extravagant 
praise and its high efficiency lauded in no measured 
terms. We may, of course, be told that these papers 
were not officially brought to the notice of the Foreim 
Department ; such things have happened to us, and the 
course of events has so closely resembled our own expe- 
riences that one compliment of imitation the more is 
of a nature to afford us no surprise. Another and an 
equally futile excuse put forward to account for the 
recent defeats is that nitherto only indifferent troops 
have been opposed to Japan, and that, when the mam 
army deploys, with all the pomp and circumstance of 
Russian war, then we shall see what we shall see. These 
declarations are not reassuring. The 3rd and 6th East 
Siberian Rifle Divisions engaged on the Yalu are un- 
doubtedly among the best troops Russia has in East 
Asia, and they are infinitely superior to regiments of 



180 THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA 

new formation like the 7th, 8th, and 9th Divisions, 
and still more so to the reserve divisions of Siberia. 
It is rather because Russia had the very elite of her 
East Asian troops in her vanguard on the Yalu that 
their rout, with the loss of 8,000 men and 28 guns, 
has caused this intense perturbation at Kuropatkin's 
headquarters. 

Bearing all these facts in mind, let us see what 
numbers General Kuropatkin may possess to meet the 
Japanese onset. We must allow him the bulk of the 
1st, 2nd,* 8rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 9th Divisions of East 
Siberian Rifles, which give 72,900 rifles after deducting 
sick and losses ; there are 8,000 sappers, perhaps 6,000 
Cossacks, and 208 field guns. It is sarcst to reckon 
that Kuropatkin has not fewer than 86,000 men under 
his hand, and if the 16 battalions of the 10th and 17th 
Corps have joined him, his available force towards the 
middle of May would be 100,000 men with 256 guns, 
not counting heavy batteries. There may be less if the 
war establishments have not been completed, but there 
cannot well be more. There is no sign as yet that the 
4th Army Corps has made sufficient progress to authorise 
its inclusion in the field army, although a few detach 
ments may have been sent to Mukden. No one has 
seen the Siberian Cossack Division east of Baikal, while 
Rennenkampf s IVains-Baikal Division has been reported 
at Ninguta, and it has probably found the raiding parties 
now in North-East Korea. 

Then come in some very serious questions. Are 
the transport and supply of this improvised army assured ? 
Are all the horses, carts, and waggons for the regimental, 
divisional, and corps transport complete ? Are the 
ammunition and supply columns, trains, and parks pro- 
vided ? Is there a coolie or pack transport corps ready, 
on a military basis, to allow freedom of movement in the 
mountains ? Is the army, in short, mobile, or is it not ? 
These questions are vital, and the course of the pending 

' The 2ud Divisiou aj>|ttrently remained at or near Vladivostok throughout 
the campaign, llie 4th uivisiou^ as will appear later^ was at Fort Arthur. 



RUSSIAN MIGHT? 181 

operations will disclose whether the mass of this army 
is chained to the railway or whether it is not, 

Russia has gained much, very much, in nearly eveiy 
one of her modern campaigns, especially towards their 
close, by inducing the world to credit her with vast 
forces she never possessed. The same procedure has 
been followed as of old, and even reputable British 
agencies have spread abroad, presumably in good faith, 
the most fantastic legends of Russian might. It would 
be unkind to recall or narrate them. But if the pro- 
cedure has been the same, the result has not. We 
are far from the days of Adrianople and San Stefano, 
and if Russia still lives in them, other nations have 
passed on. Military intelligence has become a fine art, 
and the tangled web of deceit is readily pierced. The 
world has become a vast international whispering gallery, 
the listeners able to give just value to recorded sound. 
All that has been achieved by exaggerated estimates of 
Russian power has been chagrin and deep disappoint- 
ment when performance has lagged so lamely behind 
promise. If Russia and Russia's friends are profoundly 
depressed by the first disasters of the war, one can only 
declare that their disillusion is entirely of their own 
making. It may not be a solace, but it is a fact. 

Such as it is, the field army of Manchuria now 
stands on a front of nearly 100 miles from Mukden 
to Niuchwang, facing east parallel to its single line of 
communications, and with a single line of retreat. Even 
the possession of the railway, affording some help to 
transfer troops from one portion of the line to another, 
cannot in any serious measure atone for the defects of a 
fundamentally false position. This army is now being 
assailed by the enveloping attack of Japanese armies 
superior in strength, with a dozen different lines of 
retreat and as many or more secure bases on the coast 
under the protecting guns of their warships. Let the 
Russian army strike back where it will, bayonet and all, 
even tactical success offers nothing necessarily decisive. 
Land cannot injure sea, but sea can injure land. 



182 THE ARMY OF MANCHURIA 

Port Arthur meanwhile, with its 35,000 men, is stale- 
mated, as every one foresaw : the forces at Vladivostok, 
Kharbin, and elsewhere are mere spectators. In Japan, 
other armies remain in reserve, ready to intervene if tiieir 
services are needed. As an example of intelligent and 
scientific use of military force by a maritime empire, 
the plan of the Japanese Staff, now so rapidly deve- 
loping, is unique and unparalleled, and if success can 
never be commanded in war, it has at least on this 
occasion been deserved. 

It now remains for the Japanese army to justify the 
audacity of the national strategy by fresh valour on the 
battlefields. The hitherto unbroken sequence of suc- 
cesses both by land and sea encourages the belief that 
the Japanese army will not be found wanting in the 
supreme test which appears to await it. It is only by 
means of the intervention of a numerous and highly- 
trained army that the harvest prepared by naval victories 
can be garnered. It is useless to sow when there are 
none to reap. 

We are told that General Kuropatkin is a great 
strategist ; but a man who deliberately exposed a third 
of his army to certain defeat has yet to justify his claim 
to the title. The Russian general may possess, but has 
yet to disclose, the talent of command. 



CHAPTER XIX ^ 

THE SITUATION TOWARDS THE END 

OF MAY 

MoLTKE is credited with the saying that, to succeed in 
war, a nation requires the four G's — Geldy Geduld, 
Gerde^ and Gliick. 

It is the last, the ever-inconstant and intangible 
luck, that failed Japan when one-sixth * of her battle- 
ship-capital foundered with the splendid Hats^use. 
Nothing that human foresight can have prevented 
seems to have been wanting in naval precaution on the 
part of those on board, and the loss of this fine ship can 
only be attributed to one of those fatal mischances in- 
separable from all kinds of warfare, but most of all from 
war upon the seas. 

Admiral Togo's first report of this disaster was as 
follows : — 

" On May 15, when ten miles south-east of Liautie- 
shan with other vessels, the Hatsuse was struck by the 
enemy's mechanical mines and sunk. Just then a 
Russian flotilla of sixteen torpedo-boat destroyers 
approached, but was repulsed by our cruisers, which 
saved 300 of the Hatsuses crew, including Admiral 
Nashiba and Captain Nakao." 

In a subsequent report Admiral Togo said : — 

** I regret to have to report a third misfortune. 

* Compiled from articles in The Times of May 20, 23, and 26, 1904. 
' It was not until after the great battle in the Tsushima Straits a year 
later that the lus9 of the Japanese battleship Vashima was officially admitted. 

183 



184 SITUATION TOWARDS END OF MAY 

'* On Sunday morning I received a wireless message 
from Admiral Dewa saying : — 

" * To-day at 5 a.m., while returning from the work 
of blocking Port Arthur, I encountered a dense fog 
north of the Shantung Promontory. The Kasuga 
collided with the port stem of the YoshinOy which was 
sunk. The Kasiigas boats saved ninety of the 
YosMnd's crew. A dense fog still continues.' 

"This has been a most unfortunate day for our 
navy. While the fleet was watching the enemy off 
Port Arthur the Hatsuse struck an enemy's mine. 
Her rudder was damaged and she sent a message for a 
ship to tow her. One was being sent when another 
message brought the lamentable report that the Hatsuse 
had struck another mine and had sunk immediately 
after. She was then ten knots off the Liautieshan 
Promontory. There was no enemy in sight, and her 
loss must have been caused by a mine or submarine. 
Three hundred officers and men were saved. She sank 
in thirty minutes. While she was sinking sixteen of 
the enemy's torpedo craft appeared but were driven off* 
by our fleet. 

" The report is somewhat vague on account of 
some of it having been received by wireless telegraphy." 

The deepest sympathy is felt throughout the Anglo- 
Saxon world with the Emperor of Japan, his nation, 
and his navy at this most untimely and irreparable loss. 
Many a hundred brave seamen have been engulfed 
with the battleship and her lesser consort, which suc- 
cumbed to the ram of the Kasuga upon the same fatal 
day, and the resulting loss of Ufe constitutes a national 
calamity for our brave allies. Blind fate, indeed, which 
chose the moment when the navy's task had been so 
well done to prove once more the instability of human 
endeavour and the feebleness of man ! 

The Japanese navy has proved itself worthy of 
taking rank with the best during the arduous struggle 
of the past three months, and has found a way of 



LOSS OF THE HATSUSE 185 

wearing down its enemy by a process of attrition, 
although an open fight in blue water has been denied 
to its valour by the misplaced prudence of its foe. It is 
not without sorrow that we can contemplate the loss of 
so many brave men, whose sole motive has been to gain 
and to deserve the applause of their Emperor and the 
approval of their country. Spartas and Spartans are* rare 
in the twentieth century scheme of life, and the heroism 
of Japanese seamen, like the whole-hearted patriotism 
of the race from which they spring, should be alike a 
matter for honour and a subject for emulation on the 
part of those who can still admire national constancy 
and deeds of daring in the domain of war. 

However much we may deplore the loss of life 
which has accompanied this double misfortune, we 
must also recognise the inhuman truth that Japan can 
better spare 20,000 men than a first-class battleship. 
Lfoss of life is only a temporary calamity to a nation of 
nearly fifty millions, since when men fall others can 
take their place, and the cry of " another for Hector I " 
finds a ready and an eager response. But the Hatsuse 
cannot be replaced, and has probably gone down in 
water too deep to make salvage operations practicable. 

Whether the mine which caused the loss was of 
Russian or Japanese design is of very little moment. 
It is certain that mining and counter-mining have been 
resorted to upon a very extensive scale, and that the 
energies of both combatants have been directed to the 
removal or destruction of these formidable engines 
whenever their presence could be detected. These 
clearing operations, combined with the constant re- 
currence of severe weather, have probably set many 
mines adrift, and the waters of the Yellow Sea are 
decidedly dangerous for the traffic of all vessels, whether 
of peace or war. 

The presence of warships near Port Arthur can 
easily be accounted for by the nature of the plan of 
campaign now steadily developing. On one side an 
investing army draws near Port Arthur, and relies upon 



186 SITUATION TOWARDS END OF MAY 

the navy for effectual and local assistance; on the 
other, the main field army awaits the arrival of rein- 
forcements from Japan, themselves best covered by 
the constant presence of the navy at the only points 
from which serious danger threatens. The Hatsusc^ 
in short, has fallen a victim to the requirements of 
military strategy, rather than to those of her own 
service for the compassing of strictly naval ends. 

But, with all this admitted, it may be doubted 
whether the present situation demanded the retention 
of the battleship squadron in such close proximity to 
the beleaguered fortress, and whether the proceedings 
of a navy round a maritime fortress in the situation m 
which Port Arthur now finds itself may not rather 
better adapt themselves to the constantly changing 
conditions. Great battleships are built and intended 
to fight with their peers in blue water : they are not 
meant for in-shore duties, nor are they fitted to cope 
with the weapons of the fortress artilleryman or the 
submarine mmer. The tremendous loss of naval 
capital, without any possible compensating gain, 
involved by the damage or destruction of a battleship 
under such conditions seems rather to point to the 
conclusion that sea-power is not intelligently translated 
by the use of first-class battleships in the immediate 
vicinity of a naval arsenal, when once the offensive 
power of the fortress has been stricken down. There 
are surely other means of mounting and using even 
12-in. guns against the sea fronts, than by risking them 
upon platforms which have cost over a million sterling 
apiece, and it would rather appear that naval science 
has hitherto neglected, or relegated to a somewhat too 
subordinate rank of interest, the procedure which must 
always and inevitably follow close afler the first clearance 
of the sea. Other ships, other weapons, and other 
methods appear then to become necessary, just as, upon 
the military side, field howitzers are excellent weapons, 
but no one would dream of employing them with a 
cavalry division. 



LOSS OF THE HATSUSE 187 

If the torpedo boat and her elder sister the sea-going 
destroyer have replaced the fire-ship, and with a far 
more formidable weapon, the bombketch and kindred 
craft of the Great War, so frequently and generally so 
vainly demanded by Nelson and his captains, have not 
yet advanced a similar stage on the path of naval 
progress. Like the man-at-arms of the Middle Ages, a 
modem war fleet is never ready for the fray until it is 
armed at all points. Certainly, superiority upon the 
blue water is the essential thing, and we have been 
right, as this war has proved, to keep our eyes firmly 
fixed upon it ; but the attack on a naval arsenal where 
the shattered remnant of a fleet has taken shelter has 
not been thoroughly thought out, and until it is, no 
navy can be certain of gathering the fruits of its earlier 
successes by its own unaided efforts, and these successes 
themselves may be endangered by the employment of 
weapons which may be invincible in their own sphere, 
but are the reverse in another. 

As to the effect upon the course of the war of the 
loss of the HatsiLsey it may be calculated to embolden 
the Russians to act offensively with such ships as the 
Baltic can send to sea, and conversely to impel Japan 
to hasten the attack upon Port Arthur. It cannot, 
however, seriously alter the situation in the Far East, 
nor arrest in any way the close watch upon Port Arthur 
or the movements of transports. It is thus a misfortune 
for Japan, but a success without immediate advantage 
for Russia, and the chief lesson it conveys is a forcible 
reminder to those who are immersed in the critical 
operations on land, that this campaign, like every other 
waged by an insular state, begins, continues, and ends 
with the power of the Island Empire to preserve intact 
the command of the sea, and to maintain a sufficiently 
large margin of naval force to make this essential 
matter a reasonable certainty. 

Meanwhile, His Imperial Majesty the Tsar of All 
the Russias has left his capital in order to inspect 
the reinforcements ordered to tjie Far East, and a 



188 SITUATION TOWARDS END OF MAY 

convenient opportunity is offered for investigating the 
conditions under which these troops can reach the 
theatre of hostilities and be supplied when they arrive 
there. 

In estimating the power Russia possesses to rein- 
force her troops in East Asia, we should certainly be 
inclined to accept in the main the assurances conveyed 
by Prince KhilkofI to the Tsar concerning the future 
possibilities of railway traffic. Even if the forecast 
made by the Minister of Ways and Communications 
is somewhat optimistic, it is certainly best for Japan 
to assume the maooimum efficiency of the railway ; 
anything short of this will be so much the more to her 
advantage and so much surplus in hand. 

According to Prince KhilkofF, the average number 
of trains now running on the section west of Baikal, 
from Cheliabinsk to Irkutsk, is ten each way. These 
trains have not only to carry troops, stores, mails, 
supplies, and munitions of war, but also the material 
for the construction of the circum-Baikal railway, for 
fresh sidings to be made east of the lake, as well as 
provisions ror the inhabitants along the line who " have 
been deprived of the first necessities of life owing to the 
cessation of ordinary traffic." It is hoped that by the 
present date eleven trains will run each way every 
twenty-four hours, and we will take the Minister's word 
for it that this anticipation has been realised. 

Prince Khilkoff, however, confesses that up to the 
time of the recent thaw on Lake Baikal the Manchurian 
Railway has not been able to exceed the number of six 
trains a day ; but during his stay in the East he was 
able to make such arrangements as might be expected 
to ensure the raising of this number to nine eacn way 
every twenty-four hours. This result he expected to 
secure by the construction of eleven fresh sidings, by 
the provision of a better supply of fuel, and by the 
transfer across the lake, effected during his visit, of 
65 locomotives, 25 passenger coaches, and 2,013 goods 
vans and trucks. Now every traffic manager is aware 



CIRCUMBAIKAL RAILWAY 189 

that on a single railway, given a fairly well- laid line, 
properly equipped, and sufficient rolling stock, the 

auestion of movement of trains depends upon the 
istance of the stations apart, or, failing stations, of the 
sidings. From Baikal to Kharbin alone it is, roughly, 
1,200 miles, and with stations 25 miles apart, as they 
are, the addition of 11 supplementary sidings is utterly 
inadequate to make a radical change in the conditions 
of through traffic. 

Of tne nine trains Prince KhilkofF hopes to see 
proceeding eastward when all his improvements are 
effiscted, he proposes to allot six to mihtary traffic, one 
to mails and passengers, and two to the transport of 
building materials, fuel, and articles of primary necessity 
for the inhabitants of the Trans-Baikal region. Thus 
the mcuvimum number of six military trains will not as 
yet be exceeded. 

As to the circum-Baikal railway, destined to com- 
plete the gap in the Russian line of communications, 
the summary of Prince KhilkofTs report sent by the 
Russian correspondents is less exphcit; but in an 
interview with the correspondent of the Matin the 
Minister has expressed an opinion that this section 
** will not be open before the month of August." 
Important as this section will be, we can temporarily 
afford to neglect it, since it is evident that it will not 
be available for the purposes of the campaign during the 
present summer. 

Until this line is open, all military and other traffic 
has to pass across the lake by boat. On the lake there 
are two steamers available, the Baikal and the Angara. 
The Baikal carries, on three pairs of rails laid along her 
axis on the main deck, 25 to 28 railway carriages with 
their loads at each trip, and at the speed of 7*5 knots 
makes the double journey five times in two days when 
the ice is completely dispersed. So long as the ice is 
even 3 ft. thick the time occupied by a single journey 
may be three days. Closely packed, the 25 carriages 
take 1,000 men, or 200 horses, while, on the upper decks 



190 SITUATION TOWARDS END OF MAY 

and below, 2,000 more men can be penned in. The 
Angara can also carry 1,500 men, sardine fashion, on 
each journey, and is not adapted for carrying railway 
plant. Therefore, if it were merely a question of 
transferring a mob from one side of the lake to the 
other, the maanmwn carrying capacity would be 11,250 
men a day. 

According to our ad\4ces from Moscow, the re- 
opening of the steamer traffic was anticipated on 
May 8. Many people, basing their calculations upon 
the maadmtim capacity of steamers and trains, overstate 
the power of Russia to reinforce her army in the East. 
If we admit Prince KhilkofTs estimate of six military 
trains a day and allow these trains each 25 carriages 
holding 40 men apiece — ^although actually they are only 
taking 25 to 80 — it is possibly true that 6,000 men 
might be passed along the line in a single day. But 
what may be possible, the utmost possible, for one day 
does not represent the average, and it is from their 
failure to take the whole situation into account that 
so many calculators have come to grief. 

The Trans-Siberian and its continuation in Man- 
churia is practically the sole line of communications, 
not only for the army, but also for the navy and the 
civil population throughout Russian East Asia, since 
the assistance which will be afforded by the waterways 
of the Volga, Amur, Sungari, and other rivers hardly 
promises much relief, and will come to an end in the 
early autumn with the return of the frost. 

We have frequently mentioned that the transport 
of army stores and supplies, together with that of 
construction material and supplies for the local popu- 
lation, must necessarily absorb much of the traffic. 
Prince Khilkoff shows that between January 25 and 
March 12, a period of 47 days, the eastward traffic 
amounted to 425 tons of stores a day, or, at the rate of 
nine tons per waggon, about 47 waggons or nearly two 
trains a day, but in practice probably rather more. 
This too, at a moment when everything except the 



THE RAILWAY BLOCK 191 

essential was put on one side for the sake of the rapid 
despatch of urgently needed reinforcements. 

Now that the Japanese are penetrating into Man- 
churia, there is a visible unrest spreading among the 
native population, and attacks by brigands are recorded 
on a crescendo scale even within a few miles of Liau- 
yang, hitherto the centre of the Russian position. The 
military danger is indeed very slight, but, so long as 
these attacks continue, the immense length of railway 
must be closely guarded and the field army pro- 
portionately reduced. 

Meanwhile the 4th Siberian Army Corps is straggling 
all over the line of communications, and no one can 
say when the railway wiU be clear. The block caused 
by all these heavy liabilities has certainly been great, 
and a vivid light is thrown upon the situation west 
of Baikal in mid-April by a correspondent of the 
Vtedomosti proceeding eastward, who declares that " all 
the stations are crowaed with goods vans and piled up 
with goods ; it is said that 1,000 goods vans have been 
blocked." This is confirmed by a correspondent of 
the Novoc Vremya^ who declares that the railway 
stations are not suitable for movements on a large 
scale. He says that the condition of the stupidly 
named station of " Manchuria," the chief centre of the 
EUistem Chinese Railway, is simply indescribable, and 
he adds that the officials are run off their feet and have 
become almost hysterical; collisions with the public, 
he adds, occur daily. 

Thus, while all our attention is naturally riveted 
upon the feats of arms at the front, the pulse of the 
future campaign is best felt far in rear of the con- 
tending anmes, and it is certainly a moderate statement 
to affirm that the situation on the Russian side is one 
to cause much anxiety. 

Meanwhile Japan, so long as she retains the com- 
mand at sea, is practically at home at the seat of war. 
From the rich stores of her abundant population she 
retains the power of continuously placing two or more 



192 SITUATION TOWARDS END OF MAY 

men in the field for every one that Russia brings up. 
She can regulate her action by that of her enemy, and 
always anticipate it, since she can throw troops into 
Manchuria with greater facility, greater speed, and in 
more efficient condition. The final success of Russia 
in this campaign is not, therefore, as yet within sight. 

Whether the Japanese have decided to invest, besiege, 
or bombard and assault Port Arthur we are still without 
means of knowing. We can, of course, sum up the 
political and military reasons for and against one course 
or another, but as such procedure does not necessarily 
conduce to the divination of Japanese intentions it is 
best left alone. 

But the idea that Japan has to choose between the 
two objectives — Kuropatkin's army and Port Arthur — 
is very wide of the mark. Japan possesses ample re- 
sources for carrying on the two operations concurrently 
if she be so minded, and it may safely be added that 
the correlation of the temporary halt of the First Army 
and the recent naval misfortunes is purely accidental. 

As to the Third Army of Japan, its place is marked, 
by German critics, on the left of the hne, and, though 
the advices from the Kaiping side are extremely con- 
flicting and incomplete, an advance from this quarter is 
a movement the Russians appear to expect. The large 
fleet of transports which carried the Second Army began 
to speed back to Japan on May 5, and we should 
naturally anticipate its return with fresh troops a fort- 
night or three weeks later. It is therefore no matter 
for surprise that the correspondent of an enterprising 
paper, while returning to Japan, should have found the 
Yellow Sea covered with Japanese transports, proceeding 
fearlessly and without naval escort to their destination. 
That fact hardly denotes that the Japanese Staff has 
become afflicted with the nervous disorder which seems 
to have prostrated some European observers after the 
loss of the Haisuse. 

There is in fact not the shadow of a sign that the 
military operations of our allies are not proceeding with 



ADMIRABLE THEORY 198 

all possible security and despatch. It is not their 
business to assail Kuropatkin until they can make sure 
of their stroke, and the assembly of 200,000 men or 
more, together with the organisation of their transport 
and supply from a sea base in a foreign country, is a 
work of time. 

It is true that General Kuroki s army has offered 
itself a wiUing victim to General Kuropatkin s blows 
for the past three weeks and that it stands at Fengh- 
wangchenn, apparently isolated and forlorn, its actions 
" betraying indecision," according to the not too intelli- 
gent appreciation of General Pflug. But it is nearly as 
numerous as any army Kuropatkin can send against it, 
and nothing would better suit the Japanese plans than 
that the Russian general should commit himself to an 
attack of their positions so far from Liauyang. They 
have done their best to induce the Russians to attack 
by means of reconnaissances in force nearly up to the 
Motienlin^; but the Russians are not to be drawn, 
ready as they must be to make a violent attack upon 
the first Japanese column that gives them an opening. 

" In battle," declare the Russian instructions recently 
issued, "the best means of beating the enemy is by 
attacking him ; in consequence, the rule of acting 
offensively must be taken as the guiding principle in 
each encounter." Admirable theory ! and hitherto 
admirably followed — by the Japanese. Whatever chance 
Kuropatkin may have had of engaging the First Army 
on fau"ly level terms, numerically considered, or even 
with very superior numbers had he not bottled up 
nearly 50,000 good troops in his maritime army traps, 
the situation changes with the gradual alignment of 
other forces in support of the First Army. The Russians 
then become more and more confined to their fortified 
positions facing south and east, from Kaiping to the 
Motienling; and, in view of the superiority of the 
Japanese numbers and the prudence with which they 
have hitherto been directed, a successful counter-attack, 
ardently as it must be desired, is not easy to compass. 

13 



194 SITUATION TOWARDS END OF MAY 

Partly owing to the vigour and far-reaching scouting 
of Mishchenko s Cossacks, who have done well despite 
some occasional reverses incidental to enterprises of this 
character, and partly owing to the somewhat premature 
and excessive divulgations of the world's press, ^we 
must conclude that the net is vainly spread in the sight 
of the bird, and that forewarned is forearmed. If the 
Russians have not fathomed the general lines of their 
enemy's strategy they are very duff people, and if they 
are caught in the meshes of the net they have no one 
but themselves to blame. 

Whatever course Kuropatkin may adopt can make 
little diflference to the Japanese plans, which aim at 
crushing their enemy out of Southern Manchuria by 
weight of numbers prudently directed. The greater 
the strength of the Army of Manchuria and the longer 
its resistance, the greater will be the numbers of the 
Japanese and the more decisive their success if victory 
inclines to their arms. The more Russians immured at 
Port Arthur and Vladivostok, or wasted in futile 
ramblings in North-Eastem Korea, the greater the 
certainty of a Japanese success ; and if General Kuro- 
patkin chooses to fight the decisive battle of this 
campaign within easy reach of the bases of the Japanese 
on the sea, it is not for the latter to deprive him of the 
satisfaction. 

We may, and indeed we must, acknowledge the 
difficulties of Kuropatkin's position, and admit that, 
even if the Russian army fails to hold its position during 
the forthcoming operations, the blame for failure wiU 
not rest upon the soldiers of the Tsar. 

Given the deplorable conditions under which Russian 
diplomacy prepared the ground for its armies, Russian 
success in this first campaign was only possible with 
unusual luck, better leading, and proof given of mani- 
fest superiority of the Russian soldier over the Japanese. 
Luck has been fairly balanced, and the loss of the 
Bogatyr at Vladivostok, at last admitted, shows that 
the fickle goddess is at least impartial. Leading, on 



THE VOIENNYI SBORNIK 195 

the Russian side, has hitherto been beneath contempt. 
As to the superiority of the Russian soldier over the 
Japanese, we are justified in saying that it remains to be 
proved, fine as the conduct of the Russian troops has 
been in circumstances of great difficulty largely due to 
inferior leadership. 

The Russian military magazine, the Voiennyi 
Sbomikj after some chivalrous compliments to the foe, 
takes refuge in the belief that the Japanese are wanting 
in the faculty of combination, and complains of their 
intellectual heaviness. These faults are not apparent 
to us, and the Sbornik rather appears to neglect that 
ancient adage which recommends that one should not 
talk of the devil in the dark. 



CHAPTER XX^ 

THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

A RIGHT gallant victory has rewarded the formidable 
and disciplined valour of the Mikado's army, and 
splendidly have the Japanese troops maintained the 
untarnished renown of their flag. 

It will be recalled that the Second Japanese Army, 
under General Oku, landed at Pitszewo on May 5 and 
following days, and that during the subsequent opera- 
tions up to the 15th they drove away the Russian 
detachments in the vicinity and secured the control of 
the railway to Port Arthur. On the 16th, having 
assembled at least two divisions in front of the enemy, 
the Japanese commander attacked the Russian advanced 
troops occupying the high ground east of Kinchou and 
drove them from the field after a sharp engagement. 

These affairs were the prologue to the Port Arthur 
drama, of which we have now witnessed the first act. 

The Second Army includes the 1st, 3rd, and 4th 
Divisions. These troops began on the 21st to prepare 
the attack upon Kinchou and the narrow neck of land 
to the south of that town which connects the Kwantung 
promontory with the mainland. This neck, the scene 
of the battle of May 26, is a mile and three-quarters 
broad between Kinchou Bay on the north-west and 
Hand Bay on the south-east. The ground near the sea 
on each side is low, but along the centre of the neck 
there rises a ridge of higher ground, with a general 

* Compiled from articles in The Times of May 30, June 4 and 19, 1904. 

196 



THE NANSHAN POSITION 197 

bearing north-east and south-west, the cuhninating point 
being 350 ft. above the sea and south-east of the village 
of Suchiatun. This culminating point is the Nanshan 
of the official accounts, and so long as it remained in 
Russian hands all access to the Kwantung Peninsula 
by land was forbidden. 

There remained, it is true, the alternative of a 
Japanese descent in rear of the defenders, but it is 
probable that the hydrographic conditions — that is to 
say, shoal water combined with the difference of depths 
at various hours of the day — may have rendered such 
attack too dangerous to attempt. The Japanese have 
hitherto displayed a marked dismclination to undertake 
landings likely to be opposed, and, in view of the hydro- 
graphic conditions and the large numbers of the Port 
Arthur garrison, we cannot, without further inquiry, 
venture to find any fault with the decision. 

On the south-western, or Russian, side of the neck 
another line of hills runs from the Liushutun promontory 
facing Talienwan Bay, nearly north-west to the shores 
of Kinchou Bay. This line is six miles in length, and 
its extent may have caused it to appear less suitable 
than the Nanshan position for defence by the numbers 
which could be spared from the Port Arthur garrison. 
It may be remarked that the Russian regulations of 
1901, now in force, allow only a mile and a quarter of 
front for a division in line of battle, and that to officers 
brought up in these ideas the tendency to mass troops 
on a restricted front must have been the natural course 
their previous training would have prompted. Never- 
theless, although the longer line in rear was abandoned 
in favour of the narrower position in front, certain points 
of it were held in support. There was a hea\y battery 
of eight guns on the extremity of the Liushutun pro- 
montory firing to seaward, and it is possible that there 
were one or two other works in the second line. 

General Stossel was in supreme command of the 
Russian force, and, in the light of official reports from 
Japan, it would appear that the main body of the troops 



198 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

consisted of General Fock's 4th East Siberian Rifle 
Division. It was this unit which was engaged in the 
fight of the 16th, and it seems likely that the 4th 
Division was allotted to General Stossel for the express 
purpose of holding the Kinchou position to the last 
extremity. 

So long as this neck was in Russian hands not only 
was the road to Port Arthur absolutely barred, but a 
sally-port also remained open through which General 
Stossel might hope to march in order to co-operate with 
the expected, or at all events promised, advance of the 
army of succour from the north. Although the defenders 
may have been rather too thick on the ground, the 
Nanshan position offered unusual advantages for defence, 
and had been diligently prepared for permanent occupa- 
tion for many weeks past. We reaa of ten forts of a 
semi-permanent character, and from the list of their 
armament it is clear that on this occasion the Russian 
artillery must have been vastly superior, both in calibre 
and in range, to the Japanese guns. Forts, trenches, 
and rifle pits, covered by mines and wire entanglements, 
were constructed on every point of vanta^, and in 
several tiers. Searchlights were also employed, and 
every advantage was taken of the proximity of a great 
fortress and its ample plant. There can be no doubt 
whatever that the Russians meant to stand here to the 
last, and that not even the possibility of defeat was 
entertained. 

Thanks to the battery on Liushutun, the entry of 
Japanese gunboats into the shallow waters of Hand Bay, 
which wash the south-eastern shores of the neck, was 
rendered impracticable, and it was therefore possible for 
a Russian gunboat to remain in this bay in a position of 
relative and temporary security, and to take an effective 
part in the subsequent fighting. It is true that on the 
left flank of the position Kinchou Bay lay open to the 
enterprise of the Japanese navy, but on this side 
the shoal water forbids approach save by small gunboats 
of light draught, and against these the heavy batteries 



MOUNT SAMPSON 199 

of the Russians in their dominating sites must have 
appeared to offer ample security. 

On the side of the mainland there was, indeed, 
one element of disadvantage. Four miles east of 
Nanshan, Mount Sampson, or Tahoshangshan, rises to a 
height of over 2,200 ft. above the sea, and on its western 
slopes batteries might in course of time have been con- 
structed to overpower the guns of the defence. Mount 
Sampson entirely overlooks and commands the Russian 
position, and we may feel positive that the Japanese 
commander selected a position on this mountain as his 
post of observation durmg the battle, and that his field 
artillery was, in this part of the field, probably obtaining 
the advantage of command over the sites occupied by 
the Russian guns. 

But with this exception the Russian position had 
everything in its favour. It was short and strongly 
fortified ; its flanks were apparently secure, and it was 
held by a garrison more than ample for its defence. If 
a Russian division of 8,000 to 12,000 men, backed up 
by 50 or more siege and 16 quick-firing field guns, 
cannot hold 8,000 yards of front, strongly intrenched, 
and with its flanks resting on the sea, against the rush 
of infantry in the open and restricted to a frontal assault, 
it is hard to say what position it can ever expect to 
defend with success. 

When the Japanese army came over against this 
formidable obstacle, it is small wonder that its com- 
mander hesitated to commit his men to the tremendous 
risks of an open assault, or that he should have spent 
several days in reconnoitring the Russian dispositions. 
The manner in which this reconnaissance was effected 
will repay study, and displays the science and intelligence 
of the Japanese army at their best. During this period 
the army effected its march of approach and crouched 
ready for its spring in the hollows to the north of the 
bold ridge which runs down from the summit of Mount 
Sampson to the Nanshan position. The Russians mean- 
while still occupied the town of Kinchou for some reason 



200 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

not easy to determine, and the first operation required 
was their eviction from a position which they had no 
sort of business to hold. Tnis was the work of Wednes- 
day, the 25th, and it was accomplished without difficulty, 
while the enemy's artillery at Nanshan was simultaneously 
engaged to divert their attention. 

The loss of Kinchou town affected in no way the 
security of the Russian position, and advanced but little 
the cause of the Japanese. The main struggle was still 
to come, and the decision of the commander was still to 
be made. If he decided to await the arrival of heavier 
metal, it might be days or weeks before it could appear, 
and meanwhile the summer was drawing on, and within 
five or six weeks the rains would be due. If, on the 
other hand, he attacked and failed, there would equally 
be delay, aggravated by the loss of several thousand 
men. No one who has felt the overwhelming reponsi- 
bilities of command at such a moment can fail to 
recognise and admire the splendid audacity which decided 
to throw at once for the whole stake. 

On Wednesday evening the gunboats Tsukusfdy 
Saiyerij Akagi, and ChiokaZy with the first torpedo 
flotilla, reached Kinchou Bay. Of these the Saiyen 
is the old Chinese Tsiyvsn^ of 2,264 tons, carrying one 
6-in. and two 8-in. guns. She was built at Stettin, and 
is a veteran campaigner of the Sino-Japanese war. The 
Tsukushi is an old Elswick boat of 1,870 tons, with two 
10-in. Krupps and four 40-pounders. The Akagi is of 
600 tons, and has four 4*7 guns; while, lastly, the 
Chiokai is of the same tonnage, and carries one 8-in. 
gun and one 4*7. Thus fifteen guns of medium calibre 
were available to meet the fifty Russian siege guns, 
and, thanks to the mobility of the gunboats, the 
Japanese ordnance, especially that on board the two 
smaller ships, could be employed in the most effective 
manner to flank the general advance and cover its 
front. 

At dawn on Thursday, May 26, the attack began. 
The gunboats stood in and bombarded Suchiatun and 



A FRESH BOMBARDMENT 201 

the forts beyond, the Akagi and Chiokai going close 
inshore and maintaining their fire throughout the day 
in a very gallant manner, thus contributing largely to 
the success of the day. 

Meantime the army was early afoot, and opened the 
fight at 2.85 a.m. By 5.20 a.m. Kinchou was traversed 
by the Japanese right, and the troops then advanced, 
on as broad a front as the ground allowed, covered 
by the flanking fire of the gunboats and by the field 
guns on the ridges of Mount Sampson. The 3rd 
Division stood on the left, the 1st Division in the 
centre, and the 4th on the right The incidents of 
the infantry fight are at present obscure, but by 
11 a.nL, after a not artillery Quel, the principal batteries 
of the Russians were silenced. The defenders, how- 
ever, still held out in their covered trenches, while the 
assailants, close as they might approach, could not 
penetrate the material obstacles accumulated in front 
of the works or subdue the rifle fire from the loopholes 
of the enemy. On the left flank of the Japanese the 
Russian gunboat also played a useful part in checking 
the infantry attack, but a Russian attempt to land troops 
from five transports on the east side of Hand Bay, m 
order to take the Japanese in flank, was frustrated by a 
Japanese counter-move. 

The Japanese then began a fresh bombardment with 
the whole of their artillery. Under this storm of fire 
the Russians began to give way, and towards 7 p.m., 
after sixteen hours' incessant fighting, the Japanese 
infantry of the 4th Division, wading through the shoal 
water on the left of the Russian hne, penetrated into 
the works, and, followed by the other divisions, gradually 
secured the mastery of the entire position. Over 700 
Russian dead, with sixty-eight cannon of all calibres and 
ten machine-guns as trophies of the victor, proclaimed 
at once the stubbornness of the Russian defence and the 
completeness of the Japanese victory. 

Such great success could not have been obtained 
without heavy sacrifice, and it is no matter for surprise 



202 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

that the Japanese casualties amounted to 4,192 men. 
To judge by the number of Russian dead, 704 of whom 
were buried by the Japanese, the casualties on the 
Russian side were probably over 2,000, and the attack 
on Port Arthur will therefore begin with some 1,500 
wounded encumbering the hospitals of the Russian 
fortress from this battlefield alone. 

Despite the hea\y strain of a long day's fighting, 
the Japanese took up the pursuit early on Friday, and 
occupied Nankwanling in the course of the morning. 
From this point the retreating Russians were driven 
towards Port Arthur and pursued through Nansan- 
shilipu, a station on the branch line to Dalny, eight 
miles south-west of Nanshan. The victory was costly 
but complete, and the defeat as crushing as unexpected. 

It is true that Nanshan is not Port Arthur, but the 
magnificent qualities of pluck and endurance displayed 
by the Japanese in this battle and the incomparably 
more favourable conditions under which the attack 
upon Port Arthur can now take place must cause 
home-staying Russians to tremble for the safety of 
their fortress and their fleet. 

Kinchou must rank as the proudest title of nobility 
as yet won on the field of battle by the valour of 
Japanese arms. There is no escape from either its 
meaning or its consequences. With almost everything 
in its favour, a strong, fresh, and confident Russian 
army, solidly intrencned behind almost inaccessible 
fortifications and supported by a formidable and superior 
artillery, has in a single day been fairly swept out of 
its trenches like dust before a broom. Never, surely, 
has the Russian army been treated with such scant 
respect ; never has the military prestige of a proud 
empire received a ruder shock. Nor must we forget 
to note and extol the admirable co-operation of the 
sister services of Japan, which on this occasion, as on 
the Yalu and elsewhere, rendered each other such 
ungrudging and effective aid. We may search in vain 
through the history of war for an army and naxy which 



DALNY 203 

have both been brought simultaneously to such a high 
and equal standard of military excellence. 

Dalny passed into Japanese hands without opposition 
on the 80th, and with it 290 railway waggons, which 
will prove of use during the forthcoming operations. 
The chief importance of the occupation of Dalny lies 
in the fact that it provides an ice-free port for the 
Japanese during the operations of next winter, whether 
Port Arthur stands or falls. Neither Niuchwang nor 
Antung have similar advantages, and much incon- 
venience and delay might have arisen had not Dalny 
fallen so opportunely into the hands of the Mikado's 
troops in an almost uninjured state. As a local base 
for tne prosecution of the attack on Port Arthur it is 
also invaluable, though it can scarcely be reckoned as 
entirely secure for naval purposes while a Russian ship 
remains afloat at Port Arthur and is capable of putting 
to sea. The presence at Dalny of such a large stock 
of railway material affords ample proof, if proof were 
needed, of the Russian disbelief in the capture of the 
Nanshan lines by the Japanese; otherwise the rolling 
stock would certainly have been withdrawn to Port 
Arthur. 

The Kreuz Zeituiig seizes the occasion to dilate 
upon this battle as a proof of the correctness of German 
theories respecting frontal attacks in general, and stirs 
up old animosities that were better buried by invidious 
references to South Africa. Need the Kreuz Zeitung 
have gone quite so far afield ? 

The truth is that all armies would be glad to see 
their troops, and especially their generals, inoculated 
with the resolution and intelligence which have proved 
the rule in the Japanese operations, and we must all 
allow that the Mikado's soldiers have succeeded, in 
circumstances of exceptional disadvantage, in a task 
that has rarely been carried to a successful issue by 
any army in modem times. But, so far as regards 
Kinchou, the frontal attack would appear to have 
failed, as that of the Germans failed at Gravelotte, 



204 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

and in each case it was the flank attack — by the 4th 
Division on May 26 and by the Saxons in 1870 — that 
decided the day. We find, in short, the old lesson of 
1870 repeated — the front is difficult, try the flanks. 
South Africa taught us a similar lesson. 

When we have hundreds of thousands of men at 
our disposal under a system of universal service we can 
afford to pile on men regardless of losses. Germany 
is doubtless in such a position, but we are not, and 
what may be necessary and advisable in the one case is 
not necessarily so in the other. No German has taken 
part in serious war for the last thirty-three years, and 
the writings of Germans of the younger generation are 
those of men entirely devoid of practical knowledge of 
war. We are therefore compelled to regard them with 
an exceedingly open mind, and to prefer the lessons of 
our considerable experience during the past quarter of 
a century. 

The Japanese army can now continue its advance 
upon Port Arthur without fear of serious resistance, 
and complete the close investment of that place on the 
land side. The landing of heavy guns at Dalny, their 
transport to the chosen positions, and their erection in 
battery on elevated sites will be an operation requiring 
time, and it is only when this work is done that 
naval aid will be once more invited, and that Port 
Arthur will again become a md a bombes. The Russians 
already have cause to know that the 12-in. guns of the 
Japanese navy can rake the fortress from end to end. 
When to this tempest of fire is added the steady 
bombardment by the land batteries of the attack, Port 
Arthur will have to look to its laurels, and the situation 
of the relics of the naval squadron will be most 
indifferent. 

If the Japanese had only desired to seal up Port 
Arthur on the land side, Kinchou would never have 
been fought, since defences could have been constructed 
on Mount Sampson and the heights around Kinchou 
which could have prevented the defenders of Kwantung 



A CUP OF HUMILIATION 205 

from breaking out, save with very heavy loss. The 
great feat of arms of Kinchou implies other designs, 
and bodes ill for the defenders of Port Arthur. 

It is not surprising that the news of this defeat, 
worse than a disaster, reaching St. Petersburg as it did 
upon the anniversary of the Tsar's coronation, should 
have caused profound dejection in the Russian capital. 
Bad policy makes bad war, and the diplomacy which 
prepares for its country this cup of humiliation must 
see it drained to the dregs. 

Whether this blow will cause any alteration in 
General Kuropatkin's plans is now the centre of all 
interest. In view of the elaborate preparation of the 
battlefield, it must be presumed that Kuropatkin was 
not unaware of the intention to fight at Kinchou, and 
this second isolation and second defeat of a fraction of 
his army will require a good deal of explanation. Will 
he remain stolidly in position, " in an attitude of calm," 
as a French correspondent in his camp has elegantly 
defined it, or will he take heart of grace and on Japanese 
heads " tell his devotion with revengeful arms " ? That 
is for the future to say, but it is manifest that in an 
army none too large at the outset there must be some 
finaUty reached at last in the process of annihilation of 
divisions one by one. 

If Kuropatkin had marched proudly away with the 
army numerically unworthy of the " dignity and might 
of Russia " before battle was ever joined, he could have 
done so \%4th graceful dignity. After two bloody 
defeats, 106 guns lost, the best part of three divisions 
handsomely beaten with the loss of 5,000 killed and 
wounded, and Port Arthur on the eve of a struggle 
for life and death, retirement is still indeed possible, but 
the grace and dignity attaching to the movement will 
no longer remain its distinguishing characteristic. 

General Stossel at Port Arthur appears to have a 
larger force than that with which he has been commonly 
credited in some quarters, since, unless some units 
have become detached from the regiments under his 



206 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

comnjand, he should have 88 battalions at his disposal 
Including fortress artillery, engineers, and special corps, 
and allowing for sick and for a loss of 2,000 men at 
Kinchou, there should be 28,000 men of the land army 
at Port Arthur and 10,000 sailors, or a combatant 
strength of 88,000 men, with some 56 field and 400 
siege guns, besides naval ordnance. 

Although traffic across Baikal recommenced during 
the first week in May, the conditions of transport across 
the lake will have been unfavourable until the ice 
entirely disappeared firom the banks. Even then there 
are great arrears to be made up, and a vast undigested 
mass of goods and stores to be passed through before 
the line can be cleared for troop trains. The staff 
officers engaged in drawing up graphics for the railway 
transport to the East deserve our conuniseration, and 
it is highly probable that they have been compelled to 
readjust theu- ideas once a week. What is simple as a 
Staff College exercise and as theory becomes very much 
the reverse when the notorious failings of Russian 
administration begin to exert their malign and unhappy 
influence upon a problem demanding the highest sense 
of duty and unimpeachable probity in all concerned 
firom top to bottom of the hierarchy. 

The first serious reinforcements which Kuropatkin 
can receive firom the West will be the mobilised troops 
of the 10th and 17th Army Corps, destined to join their 
brigades already in the East. The order of mobilisation 
of the 17th Corps was issued on May 8, and on the 
25th the corps commander reported by telegraph to 
St. Petersburg that the troops had completed their 
mobilisation within the allotted periods, presumably 
seventeen days. The corps includes the 8rd and 85th 
Infantry Divisions, each with their artillery brigade of 
six batteries and flying park, bearing numbers corre- 
sponding to those of the divisions. Besides infantry and 
artillery, the 2nd independent cavalry brigade, consist- 
ing of the 51st and 52nd Dragoons, accompanies the 
corps, representing the only regular cavalry hitherto 



TWO MORE CORPS 207 

despatched from the West. Finally, there is also the 
17tn Battalion of Engineers, part of the 6th Engineer 
Field Park, and the transport of the army corps. 
Excluding the brigade of this corps already in the East, 
the combatants to be despatched should number 29,000 
rifles and 1,800 sabres, or 80,800 in all. Nothing has 
transpired to show that transport eastward has yet 
begun, but, if we allow that the movement of one corps 
or the other may have commenced on June 1, the first 
troops can only be expected to reach Mukden during 
the second week in July, and, if the railway is kept 
reasonably clear, the whole of the 80,000 men may reach 
Kuropatkin before the end of the month. The exact 
dates cannot be fixed without knowledge of the amount 
of transport allotted to the various units. 

General Slutchevsky, commanding the 10th Corps, 
quitted KharkofFon June 11 ; the departure of General 
Bilderling, commanding the 17th Corps, was notified 
on the 16th. It seems, therefore, probable that the 
10th Corps will be first in the field, and its effectives 
will be tne same as those of the 17th Corps, less the 
cavalry. The question then arises whether the addition 
of these two corps to the field army by the middle of 
August — which may be materially practicable, thanks 
to the reduction of effectives below the normal standard, 
the cutting down of transport, and the elimination of 
all mounted troops except two regiments — will seriously 
alter the balance of advantage. In view of the character 
of the operations, these reinforcements seemed destined 
to do little more than make good the waste of six 
months of war, and even their transport to the theatre 
of hostilities offers no serious hope of permitting the 
Russian commander to engage his enemy on favourable 
terms. 

The present intentions of the Russian General Staff 
are believed to include the despatch eastward of 162,000 
men and 88,800 tons of stores during the six months 
May to October. This gives a monthly supply of 
27,000 men and 18,883 tons. 



208 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

Since this Russian estimate was made it has, how- 
ever, been discovered that the question of remounts 
presents unexpected difficulties, and that the local 
supply in East Asia is both inadequate and unsuitable 
for the needs of the army. It is certainly curious that 
a fact so well known to observers in the West should 
have remained a secret to the army most concerned ; 
but the result will be another modification of those 
ill-fated graphics and a reduction either in men or 
supplies in order to secure the proper provision of 
horses. 

This revision should bring the Russian estimates 
into reasonable accord with our anticipations. Briefly 
stated, the situation is that Kuropatkin can count at 
this moment upon a field army of 100,000 combatants, 
and that he can hope, if all goes well with the Trans- 
Siberian, to receive a monthly addition to his fighting 
strength of about 27,000 men. 

The Novoe Vremya^ in the earlier days of the war, 
described the campaign as " a simple expedition." Any- 
thing less expeditious than the Russian arrangements 
would be hard to name ; as to the simplicity, there is 
certainly a strong infusion of that quality in the Slav 
character, but there is none at all in the desperately 
intricate problem of logistics which still confronts the 
Russian Staff and is still unsolved. 

It now becomes necessary to refer briefly to the 
military conditions of the country which is about to 
become the scene of pending military operations. 

The valleys of the Liau and the Yalu are separated 
by the great backbone ridge of mountains, known by a 
variety of names, which stretch fi^om near Kaiping to 
the neighbourhood of Vladivostok, the highest points 
within the area of the present operations not exceeding 
4,000 ft:. 

Just as in the Alps we find short valleys and abrupt 
descents on the side of Italy, and easier gradients, with 
long and divergent valleys, on that of France, so in 
these Manchurian mountains, although the distinction 



ROADS IN MANCHURIA 209 

is much less marked, the northern slopes are steeper 
than the southern, and often fall in precipitous descents. 
These hills are for the most part wooded, the forest zone 
extending from near Kaiping all along the watershed to 
the Long White Mountain and North-Eastem Korea. 
The southern slopes are more cultivated than those on 
the north, and are covered with the debris of disintegrated 
granite rocks, mica and schist, washed down into the 
valleys by the rains. 

The woods vary in character in different localities. 
In some places the local woodmen and charcoal burners 
have made clearings; in others the trees and under- 
growth have been uncut for years. Each local com- 
munity acts according to its pleasure. Thus in one 
district may be found wide expanses covered with growth 
no higher than the knees, in another trees 80 ft. nigh — 
oak, plane, maple, elm, birch, walnut, hazel, witn an 
undergrowth of tree-shrubs, creepers, brambles, ferns 
or bracken, and wild raspberries, the whole forming a 
dense and almost impenetrable thicket on each side of 
the narrow track. 

East of Kaiping are high rugged hills, with valleys 
partially cultivated, extending for some ten miles ; then 
comes the wooded district, with clearings and cultivated 
patches appearing here and there. Twenty miles south 
of Kaiping and the same distance from the coast the 
hills rise in steep and jagged peaks, with many cliffs, the 
whole densely wooded. 

When we speak of roads in Manchuria we speak of 
things that scarcely exist. Apart from the mountain 
districts, the roads in Southern Manchuria have the 
peculiarity of being below the level of the adjoining and 
cultivated land. The reason for this is that the culti- 
vators annually steal thousands of cartloads of soil from 
the roads in order to mix it with the farmyard manure ; 
and they especially favour the mud-holes in the roads, 
which offer a richer soil. In consequence the tracks in 
the low-l)dng districts go from bad to worse, until they 
become mere stretches of stagnant water, and fresh 

14 



210 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

tracks are then made across the fields, becoming roads 
in their turn. As there are no divisions between pro- 
perties, carts travel freely over the fields when they are 
hard frozen in winter; but in spring there is endless 
friction between farmers and carters when the latter 
attempt to traverse the newly-sown fields to avoid the 
mud-holes. 

From the middle of June until the middle of July 
all wagffon traffic ceases on the roads in the low districts, 
and orJy the smaller and lighter carts can travel at 
alL For a varying period after the middle of July 
all considerable traffic stops on these roads, which 
then become almost impassable for wheeled vehicles. 
Movement is then mainly confined to the passage of 
light carts and pack animals along the mountain tracks, 
and this continues until some time after the close of the 
rainy season, the duration of which is subject to con- 
siderable variation. 

Even in the mountain districts the best of the cart 
tracks are not good, and in many places two carts cannot 
pass each other. The best of the mountain tracks at 
the disposal of the Japanese is that leading from Antung, 
through Siuyen, and over the Tapienling (Great Level 
Pass), which crosses the hills where they are low, more 
open, and less wooded ; the gradients on this road are 
easy, and should permit the train and artillery of a 
Japanese army to pass. 

The Liau plain and some of the richer valleys near 
Liauyang and Haicheng have large areas covered with 
the most characteristic crop of the country — namely, 
kaoliang (tall grain), or sorghum. This crop is planted 
in drills 2 fL apart, each plant being from a foot to 18 in. 
from the next. It has the appearance of maize, and the 
crop is earthed up Uke an English potato-field. At the 
present season it may be 3 fL high, but once the rains 
begin in earnest, the kaoliang grows rapidly, and shoots 
up to 12 ft. or 15ft. in height, completely covering even 
mounted troops from view, and resembling a sugar 
plantation. When this moment comes the Chinese 



SIUYEN 211 

footpad is in season, and so perfect is the cover that the 
local authorities make no attempt to effect arrests until 
after the harvest. So difficult did the Russians find 
movement amidst this crop in 1900 that they made no 
attempt to move beyond Tashihchiao and to restore 
their aamaged railway until well on in September, and 
for two years after the Boxer troubles the crop was 
not allowed within 600 yards of the line. 

When ftiUy grown the stems of the kaoliang are 
rough and impede movement ; the ground is usually 
wet and soft ; as the crop covers three-fourths of the 
Liau Valley, it renders all movements of troops, except 
infantry in open order, next to impracticable for two 
months. The chief of the other crops in Southern 
Manchuria are the small yellow millet, the stalks of 
which make capital fodder for horses, dwarf beans, and 
a grass resembling small millet with white grains. In 
the Siuyen Valley only a little kaoliang is grown in 

Ktches, but there are maize, cotton, small millet, and 
ans. 
Siuyen is an ideal assembly ground for a large army 
in the mountains. It stands m a high and healthy open 
valley, fifteen miles by ten, with dry, porous soil, and it 
is traversed by three pure water streams. From the 
south it can be reached by three rough but fairly good 
cart tracks, passable in all seasons, leading from Pitszewo, 
Tachuangho, and Takushan. These tracks are bordered 
by steep hills, rising sharply from the valleys and covered 
with brushwood and coarse grass. From Siuyen roads 
radiate in all directions, and even if circumstances com- 
pelled an army to remain in this valley during the rains, 
its situation would be infinitely preferable to that of 
another in the Liau Valley, exposed to the dreaded 
summer diseases of July, which may take a heavy toll 
of the Russian army. The Siuyen-Haicheng road is 
well cultivated, save here and there a sandy waste, and 
the side valleys on each side of the road are not without 
a fair proportion of crops. 

It will be seen from the above details, and from 



212 THE BATTLE OF KINCHOU 

a glance at a map of the theatre of war, that the Russian 
position between Kaiping and Haicheng can be even- 
tually attacked along its front across ground peculiarly 
adapted to li^ht infantry, backed up by mountain 
artillery, supphed by a semi-military coolie corps, and 
directed by a highly-trained staff thoroughly conversant 
with the ground. 

The advantages of the Russian position — ^namely, 
good parallel communications along its front by road 
and rail, with power of concentrating against a separated 
column of the enemy — are more apparent than real. 
Considerable movements by rail cannot be effected at 
the last moment on a battlefield, and, from what has 
been already said about the roads, it will be seen that 
the low country communications are most indifferent at 
this season, and will tend to become worse every day. 

When the Japanese reach Kaiping, they will already 
have turned the mountain barrier, and the Motien posi- 
tion may eventually fall without being attacked. 



CHAPTER XXP 

THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENERAL 

Whatever views we may entertain concerning the 
policy of Russia in the Far East, we must all be 
prepared to allow that the task which now lies before 
the Russian General-in-Chief is one of extraordinary 
difficulty. 

What was apparent to impartial foreign observers 
before the outbreak of war must now have begun to 
dawn upon the Russian people — namely, that a solution 
of the military problem in conformity with the views 
and aspirations of the Russian Government can only be 
anticipated, after a long delay, if at all, by the display 
of ffenius in the command, of superior valour and 
intelligence in the rank and file, and of almost in- 
exhaustible patience and loyalty in the mass of the 
people. 

It is certainly not the business of Anglo-Saxon 
critics to offer advice or suggestions, which would be 
very ill received, to the Russian people or Russian 
commanders; but it is a military interest to examine 
the difficulties under which the command of the Russian 
army labours, so that we may be able hereafter to judge 
the procedure adopted during the progress of this 
eventful campaign. As an example of the weighty 
anxieties which beset a commander in time of war, and 
of the imperious need for the existence of military 
talent of the highest order in a directing staff, the 

» From The Time* of June 23, 1904. 
213 



214 THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENERAL 

position of affairs at this moment offers quite excep- 
tional and unusual interest. 

General Kuropatkin assumed the command with a 
large balance of public confidence in his favour. He 
was trusted, and is trusted still, by the Tsar, the army, 
and the nation, and those organs of Russian thought 
which are continually preaching the necessity for a 
steady continuance of this confidence, despite recent 
disasters, are thoroughly justified in the line they have 
adopted. A commander in the field must be trusted 
all m all, or not at all. 

If Russia suffers now, as she has generally suffered 
in the past, from the absence of any commanding 

Eersonabty in the realms of politics or war, it must also 
e allowed that Kuropatkin was designated for the 
command by the almost universal consensus of public 
opinion. The glamour of Skobeleff*s achievements 
invests his trusted lieutenant with a ray of reflected 
glory, not without a practical measure of value at a 
moment when decisions may have to be imposed which 
cannot be pleasing to those under his command. 

The years spent at the War Office also authorise 
Kuropatkin to count with confidence upon the devotion 
of the military administration at the Russian capital, 
in itself a valuable aid to a general in the field. These 
advantages, the sturdy valour of that really fine fellow 
the Russian private, and, at present, the patient 
patriotism of the Russian people, represent the credit 
side of Kuropatkin's balance, and if there were no other 
side to the account he would indeed be a fortunate 
man. But at the apex of the autocratic pyramid there 
stands the Tsar, able day by day and almost hour by 
hour to offer advice and make suggestions not always 
readily distinguishable from commands. The telegraph, 
that useful handmaid, but most exacting mistress, brings 
all the hopes, fears, influences, and agitations of the 
Court into the camp. His Imperial Majesty has begun 
to discover that his own political credit is irretrievably 
involved in the bankruptcy which threatens the Far 



THE ILL-STARRED ALEXEIEFF 215 

Eastern afiairs of his great Empire. That is the 
inevitable result of a political system which makes the 
Crown the recognised fount of all mundane good and 
the accredited source of all evil that befalls the state. 
Uneasy lies the head that both reigns and governs. 

With the growing intelligence and increasing means 
of expression of Russian public opinion, it is no longer 
left for the foreign intellectuals to point the moral A 
recent article in the Moscow Krevil by Professor 
Ilovaisky accuses in set terms Prince LobanofF, Count 
Muravieff, and ]SI. Witte as the authors of all the 
political disasters in the Far East. Each one of 
these dignitaries has been the trusted councillor and 
mouthpiece of the Tsar, and by attacking them the 
Professor indirectly assails autocracy itself and all that 
it implies. 

Human nature being inseparable even from the 
august person of a Tsar, abstention from interference in 
the conduct of the war is more than we can have any 
reason to expect from a ruler whose own credit is so 
closely bound up in what he has himself described as 
the " great historic task " of consolidating Russian rule 
on the Pacific coast. Below his Imperial Majesty 
stands the ill-starred figure of the Viceroy- Admiral, 
largely responsible for the first disasters, and retained in 
his appointment from motives we can rather understand 
than respect, though damaged in repute and deprived 
of all powers of militaiy command. 

Admiral Alexeieff has not been content to sink into 
the position of respectable insignificance obviously, but 
half-heartedly, assigned to him by the Imperial tele- 
gram announcing the appointments of Makharoff and 
Kuropatkin. He continues to send to the Tsar, 
through General Pflug, the Quartermaster-General of 
his field staff — a staff without an army — his own sum- 
mary of, and comments upon, the miHtary situation. 
He and his considerable following are not overflowing 
with sympathy for Kuropatkin and the large staff he 
has brought with him from the West The point of 



216 THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENERAL 

view of the two men is not the same ; the difference is 
profound, and the effect is likely to be disastrous. 

Admiral Alexeieff is still responsible for the civil 
government of the Imperial Lieutenancy in the Far 
East. On these grounds he is natually averse to the 
abandonment of territory over which he has hitherto 
exercised the pleasures of unquestioned sway. As a 
sailor he is also opposed to any action tending to cause 
loss of touch with the relics of the great squadron 
which fate, in the guise of incapable diplomacy, has 
consigned to the prison-fortresses of the Pacific. 

He dreads the effect upon the native population and 
upon the surrounding peoples of the abandonment of 
Southern Manchuria. He knows that Port Arthur 
and Vladivostok contain not only the best of the 
Russian ships, but some 15,000 of the smartest officers 
and seamen in the navy, together with a large number 
of the most capable mechanics, who can ill be spared. 
He is aware that his own reputation can never survive 
the deadly blow which will be dealt it by the capture 
of Port Arthur. 

To what extent the defeats of the Yalu and Kin- 
chou have been due to these terrors which have haunted 
the Viceregal mind we have no present means of 
ascertaining, but the chances are that both were largely 
caused by weak concessions to ideas which Kuropatkin 
himself can hardly have been expected to share. The 
particular difficulty which confronts the Russian general 
in relation to these matters is that the Viceroy's fears 
are largely justified, and that the only point of differ- 
ence between the two men lies in the selection of the 
best course to pursue. 

No one can doubt that the appearance of the 
Japanese at Mukden and round Port Arthur will have 
immense effect throughout the length and breadth of 
Eastern Asia, and that the impetus it will give to the 
sullen hostility of the native population will seriously ag- 
gra\'ate the task of the troops. The further the army with- 
draws from Southern Manchuria, the more formidable 



THE RUSSIAN PRESS 217 

becomes the work of recovering the lost ground, and 
the more acute the strain upon and the exasperation 
of the Russian public. Even in Russia public opinion 
is a force to be reckoned with, and nothing can make it 
believe that a retreat is not a disgrace and the abandon- 
ment of Port Arthur a desertion. The existence of 
this public opinion in Russia is something of a new 
fact, and its manner of being during the progress of 
an unsuccessful war will assuredly repay study. Even 
£anciful comparisons of KutusofF and Bagration with 
Kuropatkin and Sassulitch, and of HoUabrunn and 
Smolensk with the Yalu and Kinchou, have ceased to 
delight the imagination or to soothe the anxieties of the 
reflecting portion of the Russian people. 

Upon the point of press views concerning future 
stategy it is necessary to quote the Russian press itself, 
so that the ideas of the leaders of Russian thought may 
not run the risk of any misconception. Only a few 
days ago the Viedovwsti announced the reasons which 
make it obligatory upon the Russian army to march to 
the relief of the great fortress. These reasons are — 
loyalty to the soldiers of the garrison, loyalty to the 
navy, and, finally, the imperative need of depriving 
Japan of the moral advantage she would gain by the 
capture of Port Arthur. Earlier in the month of 
May the Novoe Vremya began to prepare opinion for 
the approaching investment, which would continue, it 
declared, until that moment, sacred in the eyes of all 
Russians, when troops should appear from the north 
in sufficient numbers to deliver their comrades. Port 
Arthur, it continued, will do its duty, and from this 
time forward the rest of Russia must live under the 
same nervous tension as the garrison, and must take 
advantage of every moment of time and every out- 
burst of energy. 

The whole of Russia must be buoyed up by one 
thought, and only one — the Russian flag cannot be struck 
at Port Arthur ! But we are all of us, to the last man, 
tilled with the absolute conviction that Russia will do 



218 THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENERAL 

all that is necessary for the relief of Port Arthur in her 
own good time; therefore, we must quietly confront 
this fresh trial, and, sending a blessing to our distant 
brothers, say to ourselves — Port Arthur may be assured 
that Russia will do her duty. 

Under the stress of a moral bombardment of this 
character only a man of iron nerve can keep his head. 
If Kuropatkin scouts the Viceroy's fears and turns a 
deaf ear to the admonitions of the press, he knows the 
forfeit. The Admirars responsibility for further disaster 
is ostensibly at an end, while the confidence of the press 
wiU slowly but steadily evaporate. It is the reputation 
of Kuropatkin himself that will suffer most from a 
further withdrawal without the exaction of a military 
vengeance for the successive defeats of the Russian 
army. 

There are, besides, the two great services to be 
considered, with their roots stretching far down into 
the heart of the Russian people and their branches 
spreading widely in every circle of Russian society. 
The Russian navy is an aristocratic service, and the 
spoilt child of the Russian Court. No one in Russia 
has yet acknowledged that the command of the sea is 
irrevocably lost. That patriotic chimera, the junction 
of the Baltic and Pacific squadrons, still governs the 
situation, and seeks to impose the law in the realms of 
strategy. We can have little doubt that the desperate 
stand at Kinchou was largely prompted by the nervous 
anxiety of the Viceroy and the Russian Court for the 
security of the Pacific squadron, when once the enemy, 
so entirely wanting in conventional respect for the 
Russian arms, establishes his siege batteries within 
range of the Russian port. 

All the disorderly ideas concerning the charm of 
defensive naval war, which have warped the action 
and sapped the vitality of the Russian navy, have been 
thoroughly, not to say exhaustively, tried, and have 
been found wanting. The Russians must know now 
that a naval squadron has no place in a fortress liable 



BOUND HAND AND FOOT 219 

to siege, and that ships and fortifications are a contra- 
diction in terms. Better far if, at any day or any hour 
since the war began, the squadron had steamed out and 
met its fate in sailor fashion, certain that it would have 
made victory almost as costly for the enemy as defeat. 

But regrets are vain, the sands are running out, and 
the endeavour to stave off, by military sacrifice, the 
impending high-angle fire of the enemy's siege batteries 
has failed. What course remains to save the squadron 
and the fortress ? 

Sooner or later Port Arthur must fall unless relieved, 
and relief, save by an act of God, can only come by 
land or sea. The Baltic squadron is not yet ready for 
its work, and, when it is, two months at least must 
elapse before its arrival in the Yellow Sea, The army 
remains. If Kuropatkin is strong enough, and able 
enough, to deal a heavy blow at Kuroki's army, to hurl 
it baek discomfited to the Yalu, and then to prolong 
his victorious march down the Liautung Peninsula, the 
situation changes its whole complexion in a flash of 
time. We may, indeed, entertain the belief that General 
Kuropatkin has already missed his market, but by no 
other means than his advance can Port Arthur and the 
ships it contains now be saved from the gloomy fate 
impending over them. The Russian general is bound 
hand and foot by this fatal entanglement of Port Arthur, 
which tends to deprive him of all strategic liberty and 
to urge him to risk the safety of his army to compass 
the relief of the beleaguered town. 

Thus there is much in the situation which may 
impose counsels of desperation upon the Army of 
Manchuria, and the course which the Russian general 
adopts will be followed with the deepest interest and 
attention by the world-audience of this strange and 
fascinating drama. He may have, at the outside, 
100,000 men, but during the weeks that he has remained 
inert and has allowed his enemy to concentrate at his 
leisure, the latter has steadily turned the situation to 
his own advantage. With the arrival of another 



220 THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENERAL 

Japanese army on the mainland all hope of accomplish- 
ing the overthrow of Kuroki s army should be at an 
end. The Russian commander has had his chance, 
such as it was, and has failed to take it. Looking 
back at his line of communications, he cannot hope for 
the intervention of the 10th and 17th Army Corps, 
even at reduced strength and imperfectly equipped, 
for another two months at least. The Russian army, 
declares a Russian authority in the Novoe Vremya^ 
reaches from Moscow to Mukden, but he adds 
significantly that it does not flow in a continuous stream, 
but only "by drops that drip." That is the truth, and 
when, on one side, there flows a continuous stream, 
and on the other only these drops that drip, which fire 
buckets will be soonest filled ? 

Kuropatkin is probably entirely innocent of all that 
foolish rodomontade which the Continental press 
ascribed to him at the time of his departure for the 
East. Patience, patience, patience ! That has been 
the burden of his advice from first to last. His idea 
at the outset was the abandonment of Southern 
Manchuria without a battle, but the unexpected delay 
in the Japanese advance has enabled him to collect 
sufficient troops at Liauyang and its vicinity to lend 
attraction to a stout resistance. The double defeat 
his troops have suffered has seriously weakened his 
position, and makes it almost incumbent upon him to 
risk a general action before any further retreat. 

Despite the traditions of 1812, retreats are highly 
unpopular to every unbeaten army. Retreats, upon 
national territory, increase the strength of the retiring 
force at every step and daily raise up enemies upon the 
lines of communication of the foe. But every step 
back in Manchuria implies fresh enemies let loose upon 
the Russian army, with no reasonable hope of utilising 
the railway during a subsequent advance, when once 
it has passed into the unchallenged possession of the 
foe. These are some at least of the anxieties, doubts, 
and fears of the Russian co^nmander, and they are 



NO FOLLY TOO GREAT 221 

certainly aggravated by unheard-of difficulties in 
questions of supply, transport, movement, and security, 
some of which we know and others of which we can 
guess. 

We hear, indeed, from Paris and St. Petersburg of 
a projected advance to the south by the General-in- 
Chief, while one of his subordinates remains behind 
to contain Kuroki's army. In view of all that has 
passed, no folly seems too great for the Russian command 
to commit ; but what chance is there of success ? The 
road, indeed, is open by Haicheng and Kaiping to 
Kinchou, since the Japanese force in position at 
Wafangkau is apparently not considerable. But at 
Kinchou, at least, resistance will be encountered, and 
the Russian-built defences, manned by Japanese, will 
have to be carried by storm, with Japanese gunboats 
on both flanks. 

Meantime the lieutenant who has to contain Kuroki, 
or possibly Marshal Oyama, deserves our heartfelt 
sympathy, for the Japanese main army will soon 
require some containing. For Japan this is the operation 
of the campaign, and the numbers which have been 
assembled under the shelter of the covering force of the 
First Army must by this time be very considerable. 
Six divisions of the active army of Japan are still 
unaccounted for, and several of these are probably 
in touch with General Kuroki. The correspondents 
with the First Army are immured, like first-class 
misdemeanants, within a circle two miles in diameter 
at Fenghwangchenn. They see nothing and hear 
nothing, or at least can tell nothing, of what passes 
around them. Nevertheless the time runs on, and by 
the end of Jime or mid-July the summer rains will 
begin to fall, and they will continue, perhaps un- 
interruptedly if the season be wet, for forty days or 
more. The advanced troops of the First, or some other. 
Army are reported already upon the Haicheng road, 
at Soumentse, close to the Motien Pass, and at or 
near Saimatse. Everything shows that the Army of 



222 THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENERAL 

Manchuria will shortly be exposed to a formidable, 
enveloping, and yet concentrated attack, and the 
chances are that the main columns of the Japanese 
armies soon will be in movement. 

Restricted though we are by the censors in point of 
information, the main lines of the situation are 
sufficiently apparent, and the course they seem to 
dictate to the Russian commander is not to be 
mistaken. 



CHAPTER XXII ^ 

JAPAN'S DEBT TO MECKEL 

It was a particularly graceful act on the part of General 
Baron Kodama to have telegraphed his thanks to 
Major-General Meckel for the services rendered to the 
Japanese Army, and to have ascribed the victory on the 
Yalu to Meckel's teaching. The Germans were not 
the first instructors of the Mikado's officers, since the 
French missions of Chanoine in 1866 and of Marguerie 
in 1872 may be said to have laid the earliest founda- 
tions and to have taught the Japanese the elements 
of drill and tactics. But the finishing touches were 
certainly given by Meckel and Von Weldenbruch in 
1885 and subsequent years, and the Japanese were 
fortunate in their advisers, since Major Meckel, as he 
was then, was one of the best products of the school of 
Moltke. He was, and it goes without saying that he is 
still, highly educated, endowed with great natural gifts, 
of wide experience of men and things, and, best of 
all, totally devoid of the rigid pedantry of traditional 
Prussian militarism. 

Shortly before his death Moltke assembled the 
officers of the Great General Staff at Berlin and told 
them that the rivals of Germany were her equals 
in numbers, in courage, and in armament. " But they 
are not equal to us in the command," he added, " and 
in that we shall always remain superior." It was this 
secret that Japan desired to surpnse, and no one was 

» From The Time* of June 6, 1904. 
223 



224 JAPAN'S DEBT TO l^ECKEL 

better qualified to implant the science of command in 
the minds of an attentive and eager audience than the 
brilliant and accomplished Meckel. He knew no 
Japanese, and few of his listeners knew German. 
Every sentence of his lectures had therefore to be 
translated by interpreters phrase by phrase, and it was 
under these depressing conditions, so enervating to the 
average lecturer, that Meckel gradually instilled into 
his hearers the great principles that had made Moltke's 
fame and had won Prussia the hegemony of united 
Germany. 

Almost every officer of the Japanese Staff, of field 
rank or above it, has sat at Meckel's feet, and the 
splendid staff work of the war with China, as well as 
that of the present campaign, is directly traceable to 
Meckel's inspiration. Nor was the influence of the 
German mission confined to the command and the 
direction of armies in the field ; it was of the utmost 
utility in teaching Japan how to create and organise, at 
the moment of declaration of war and subsequently, all 
those services de tarriere so vital for the preservation 
of efficiency in the field. More especially it taught 
Japan how to prepare the ground for the raising of 
reserve field armies — the principal distinction between 
the old order and the new — and further showed her 
how to utilise the entire resources of the territory and 
the population during a national war with the least 
possible sacrifice in time of peace. That part of the 
work of the German mission is not yet before us to call 
for judgment, since at present only the active army is 
in the field ; but, should the war prove long and ex- 
hausting, victory will only remain with Japan if she 
Erove capable of continually placing in the field fresh 
jvies of trained soldiers and of maintaining the 
effectives of those units already under arms. 

It is a commonplace in every discussion of military 
affairs in this country to hear it said that everything is 
a question of money ; so many pounds sterling, so much 
efficiency, and so many more soldiers. That pernicious 



THE RUSSIAN ARMY 225 

heresy, ioined to a neglect little short of appalling of 
the special conditions attaching to the conduct of war 
by a great colonial empire blessed with an insular 
citadel, has given England the most costly and, for its 
purpose, the most inefficient assemblage of armed forces 
that the wit of man could devise. Japan, fortunately 
for herself, was not in a financial position to aspire to 
raise armies unintelligently by the sheer brute force of 
the purse. She was much more nearly in the position 
of jPnissia when the military regeneration of that 
monarchy began, and she was therefore abundantly 
justified in appealing for guidance to a nation whose 
early days were instinct with the rigid traditions of an 
almost parsimonious economy. When Frederick blew 
out Voltaire's candles and gave him his allowance of 
sugar by weight, in the form of a ration, he was only 
inaulging in an exaggerated display of that constitu- 
tional tendency which became a cause of admiration 
when applied systematically to the army and all its 
affairs. The Great Elector put 28,000 men into the 
field with a Budget of £150,000, Frederick William I. 
76,000 men at a cost of under a million, Frederick II. 
200,000 at the price of two millions, and William III. 
250,000 for under three millions. After Waterloo 
140,000 men with the colours could be raised to 
580,000 in war, and only cost the country £3,600,000 
a year. 

No doubt the Prussian army had its defects in 
these early days ; nevertheless, it conducted the War 
of Liberation to a successful issue, and twice entered 
the enemy's capital during the Napoleonic era. What- 
ever results we may expect from the control of an 
army of highly-paid clerks directed by an amateur, 
resulting in a passive organism of the jelly-fish charac- 
ter, without even the capacity of that animal for 
adapting itself to a maritime environment, it is certain 
that Prussia at least preferred vertebra to gelatine. It 
was the direction of a single guiding hand, generally 
the Sovereign s, that was the mainspring of all efficiency, 

15 



226 JAPAN'S DEBT TO MECKEL 

and it must be admitted that the system resulted not 
only in unvarying success, but in equally invariable 
economy. It was the tradition of permanence and 
unity in military affairs, joined later with stability in 
eflTectives, that made the Prussian army formidable. It 
was that system of rigid economy, and of unity of 
direction maintained in the hands of the Emperor, that 
best suited the political atmosphere of Japan, and upon 
this sturdy stem she grafted the spirit of the German 
G^eneral Staff, a later growth of the Prussian system, 
together with short service pushed to very elaborate 
consequences. It has been at the cost of little more 
than K)ur millions sterling a year that Japan has raised 
the army and obtained the success of to-day. 

If Japan was materially in the situation of Prussia 
before the wars of German unity, there were circum- 
stances in the moral order of ideas which were not 
dissimilar from those of the state she wisely took for 
her model Japan had her Olmiitz after Shimonoseki, 
and if we cannot say that the polished afiront offered 
by the three Powers was borne by her, as it was by 
Prussia, because the sword had rusted in the scabbard, 
it is certainly true that the military and naval resources 
of Japan at the close of the war with China did not 
permit her at the time to oppose the will of the Powers 
with any serious hope of success. 

Keeping her peace, she set to work with a serious 

Surpose and rare tenacity, and while every child in 
apan knew the object of the succeeding eight years 
of continual effort, the open secret of a people of 
nearly fifty millions remained undetected by the vain 
diplomacy of the greater part of the Western world. 
In the great traditions of her feudal system, and in 
the noble ethics of the samurai, Japan possessed a 
moral force which equalled, if it did not exceed the 
driving power of the Tugendbund. She had her 
fanatics, ner Fichtes, and her Amdts, and she had, 
too, her Steins and her Hardenbergs, able and ready 
to organise and exploit the great explosive forces of 



THE SECRET OF SUCCESS 227 

Japanese patriotism, while preserving all the outward 
appearance of restraint. 

The relations of the Mikado s Government with the 
National Parliament are also much more akin to the 
conditions formerly prevailing in Prussia than to those 
of any Western State of the modern type. The pro- 
cedure followed by the Mikado and his advisers with 
regard to the Imperial Diet, both before and during 
the war, recalls the struggles of Bismarck and his col- 
leagues with the Prussian Parliament. We seem to 
hear the echo of Von Roon s speech on January 24, 
1865 : " Never will the King of Prussia cede to an 
ephemeral Parliament a single detail of the organisa- 
tion indispensable for the grandeur and existence of 
the country." 

Numbers are not everything in modern war, but no 
great and permanent successes have been achieved in 
modem times without them. The secret of Prussian 
successes has been attributed to a great number of 
secondary causes, some of which were contributing 
factors to victory and others not. But at the bed-rock 
of success lay the simple and elementary fact that 
Prussia in 1870 sent three men to the frontier for every 
one man of the French Imperial Army. Prussia placed 
600,000 men in the field against 210,000 Frenchmen 
available to meet the first German onset, and by the 
end of February, 1871, when there were nothing but 
mobiles in front of them, the German numbers had 
grown to 1,350,787 men, of whom nearly a milHon were 
mobilised troops. 

Japan has followed suit, and both on the Yalu and 
at Kinchou has overwhelmed the Russian defence by 
establishing a similar superiority of three to one. So 
long as this annihilating proportion is maintained so 
long mil Japanese victories prove decisive and over- 
whelming. 

Certainly, numbers in themselves are not everything, 
since an army is the product of quantity and quality, 
and if one of these factors is increased to the detriment 



228 JAPANS DEBT TO MECKEL 

of the other the result remains always the same. But 
if to the higher numbers we allow the purest patriotism 
and unconquerable resolution to vanquish or die, and 
then add superior training, better leading, and at least 
equal armament, the campaign becomes somewhat one- 
sided. That is, or should be, the object held in view in 
the organisation of military forces ; not so much to 
wage war as to prevent it, a purpose achieved by making 
war too dangerous and too onerous for an enemy to 
enter upon with any hope of final success. No other 
means ever has been discovered, or ever will be, to 
prevent war in ages antecedent to the millennium. 
When armed forces achieve that result they answer 
their purpose, and, no matter what they cost, are 
infinitely cheap. When they fall short of it they 
become dangerous and costly luxuries, and the people 
that pay for them deserve the lash of Carlyle, and the 
iron heel of the conqueror on their necks. 

All this Japan has learnt from Prussia, and all 
honour where honour is due. 

She has also learnt, whether directly from Meckel's 
teaching, or indirectly by a process of induction, the 
necessity for the establishment of plans of campaign 
based on the natural dictates of national strategy. 

Nothing is stranger in this strange war of to-day 
than the i^solute identity of the Japanese strategy in 
1894 and 1904. Then, as now, the enemy's fleet was 
the first objective ; then, as now, Pingyang was occupied 
by a rush ; then, as now, the Yalu was reached, batteries 
established at Wiju, and the army thrown across up- 
stream, Hushan occupied and the Ai River traversed 
by a turning force. W'hether the Russians had ever 
heard of the battle of October 25, 1894, we cannot tell ; 
all we know is that they occupied the same positions 
as the Chinese, were misled by the same ruses, and 
destroyed by the same attacks frt)m the same direction. 
A more striking instance of the crime of neglecting 
military history was never seen. 

The parallel did not stop there. In 1894 the 



1894 AND 1904 229 

Japanese landed their Second Army near Pitszewo, the 
marines wading ashore and planting the national flag 
upon the hills as a signal to the transports. All these 
meidents were repeated, measure for measure, last 
month by the same army. There were no Chinese to 
oflfer resistance at Pitszewo in 1894, and there were no 
Russians in 1904. The fact that this point was named 
in the histories of the 1894 campaign as the only 
suitable spot for a landing on this coast, was entirely 
neglected. 

Similarly, in 1894 the army advanced upon Kinchou, 
fought a battle there and occupied Dalny, capturing a 
vast quantity of material. All these incidents have 
now been repeated one by one, and if the Japanese 
seem to be people of curiously fixed ideas and to have 
only a single plan of campaign in their heads, it is also 
true to say that the Russians have hitherto found 
nothing better than the old Chinese plan of campaign, 
and have followed it with pathetic, if unreasoning, 
fidelity. 

But there is another point of resemblance between 
the two canipaigns which events may now permit us 
to recall. The special and particular distinction of 
Yamagata's strategy in 1894 was the double objective 
which he never ceased to dangle before the eyes of his 
enemy. Peking and Mukden — these were the two 
objectives, and to the last the Chinese never knew the 
real purpose in the minds of their foe. Thus, while 
the Second Army landed in I^iautung in 1894 and 
advanced on Port Arthur to clear the air on this side, 
the First Army took position north of the Yalu, 
executed wide reconnaissances, and allowed it to be freely 
discussed that Mukden was the great objective. Misled 
by this diversion, the Chinese remained passive in the 
Liau Valley, and the best general of China allowed 
himself to be played with until the Second Japanese 
Army had taken Port Arthur and was in a position to 
co-operate with the advance. 

A similar comedy has been very successfully per- 



280 JAPAN'S DEBT TO MECKEL 

formed during the past six weeks, Kuroki enacting the 
part of Tachimi and Kuropatkin that of Ikotenga. 
Experience is lost upon ah army that cannot reflect. 

The Japanese should certainly convey their thanks 
to the experts of the civilised world whose intelligent 
anticipation of events which have not occurred have so 
matenally aided to chain Kuropatkin to the soil by 
amtating St. Petersburg during the most critical weeks 
of the war. Now that Kinchou has been fought and 
that the situation of the Second Army is known, the 
scales must fall from Russian eyes and they may at 
lenfi^h perceive that every incident of recent history is 
nothing more nor less than the repetition, step by step, 
of the precedent of 1894. 

Kuroki is now too strong to be easily defeated, and 
we may presently see re-enacted towards Haicheng 
those other incidents in which the present Prime 
Minister of Japan played such a distinguished part in 
1894. There will only then remain the story of 
Weihaiwei to retrace, and that tale may be told in due 
course, with only a change of venue corresponding to 
altered circumstances. 

The principle of a double objective, holding an army 
in perpetual aoubt as to the enemy's intentions, has 
never been quite so well or so continually employed as 
by Yamagata and his successors. They use it on the 
strategic theatre and they use it on the battlefield, 
reserving the power of always altering their plans 
according to the situation and dispositions of the foe. 
Whether Meckel taught them this stroke or whether 
they evolved it for themselves it would be interesting 
to learn. It has certainly puzzled the Russians as 
completely as it did the Chmese ; it caused both to 
endeavour to guard everything, and consequently to be 
everywhere weak. That is one of the reasons that 
entitles us to talk of the ** art " of war. 

If the Japanese, thanks to what we may call the 
Yamagata opening, occupy a very favourable position 
on the strategic chessboard, nothing is finally com- 



PORT ARTHUR THEN AND NOW 231 

promised on the Russian side while Port Arthur resists 
and Kuropatkin remains unbeaten. 

As to Port Arthur, it fell in 1894 after a single 
day's fight, though defended by 10,000 Chinese occu- 
P5ring permanent defences armed with 330 cannon 
ranging up to 20- and 24-centim6tre Krupps. Against 
these the Japanese brought up 36 siege and 64 field 
guns and attacked the north-west front, carrying the 
place within 29 days of the landing at Pitszewo. Both 
garrison and armament, as well as the works themselves, 
are now incomparably stronger, and the fortress cannot 
be treated in this cavaher fashion until the heaviest 
siege guns are brought up and superiority of fire 
obtained at the point chosen for attack. 

In the main theatre Kuropatkin has yet to be dealt 
with, and if he intends to accept battle we must believe 
that he should now be able to call down parts at least 
of the three Siberian reserve divisions which should by 
this time have begun to draw within call. 

Whether the Japanese are wise to allow him so 
much rope is a matter for the future to decide. The 
Japanese main army will march when its hour strikes, 
and meanwhile Marshal Oyama appears to regard with 
indifference, if not with satisfaction, the arrival of 
reinforcements on the Russian side which seem to 
denote the intention of waging a decisive battle. 



CHAPTER XXIII ^ 

CONCERNING FIRSTCLASS IMPREG- 
NABLE FORTRESSES 

Before a nation commits itself to the heavy expenditure 
involved in the construction of a first-class fortress, it 
should ask itself what national purpose the stroi^hold 
is desired to serve, and whether it is likely to 
accomplish this object or to defeat it. 

The rule is elementary, yet it has generally been 
honoured in the breach rather than in the observance, 
and seldom more than by Russia to-day. Port Arthur 
and Vladivostok intercept no primary line of operations 
of an enemy attacking Russia in East Asia. The war 
might conceivably be finished without a shot being fired 
by the batteries of these strongholds. On the other 
hand, they absorb 50,000 Russian troops, numbers 
which might ensure victory for Kuropatkin*s field army, 
could they be united with it. The Pacific fortresses are 
therefore, so far as the decision of the campaign on land 
is concerned, a serious drain on Russia and a positive 
encumbrance to the Russian commander. 

It is true that they offer a delusive refuge to 
squadrons unable to keep the sea ; but, if the navy 
using them can wage offensive war successfully, they 
are not required, and, if it cannot, they are unable to 
restore suspended naval animation. 

Marine traps like Port Arthur and Vladivostok 
decoy into their seductive havens the residuum of a 

' From The Timet of June 16, 1904. 
232 



ENGLAND'S FORTIFICATIONS 288 

beaten fleet, which then reverts to the attitude of the 
passive resister. Whether the entrance be then blocked 
by material obstacles, as at Port Arthur, or merely 
watched, as at Vladivostok, the squadrons in harbour 
are placed in bond under the enemy's seal. Owing to 
the great range and destructive force of modem pro- 
jectiles, no harbour within five miles of blue water can 
be reckoned safe, and, if the enemy is in a position to 
land an army and assail the fortress from the land side, 
or invest it and let famine do its work, its fall is only 
a question of time, should no relieving force appear on 
land or sea and win a decisive battle. The construction 
of first-class fortresses, maritime or other, is therefore a 
luxury which national strategy can only permit itself 
after a reasoned consideration of the object in view and 
of the question whether the fortress is likely to attain 
this object or whether it is not. 

It is certain that we in England have constructed, 
year in, year out, a vast number of useless fortifica- 
tions, and have even gone so far as to prepare the 
elements of fixed defences for the Surrey hills, con- 
formably with current heresies concerning the defence of 
London which have only enjoyed a precarious existence 
by reason of the obdurate manner in which they have 
hitherto shunned the light. We have this to urge in 
extenuation — that we have little experience to guide us, 
since, despite a national existence of many centuries and 
continual wars with all the greatest Powers of the world, 
fortification in England, whether inshore or on the 
coast, is in the happy condition of peoples who have 
no history. Does not that fact alone throw a glare of 
light upon the devious paths we are following ? What 
should we say of Japanese intelligence if the statesmen 
of that country had organised half a million men or 
more whose services were not available in Manchuria 
owing to the terms of their enlistment ? What sarcasm 
would be too biting if Japan had accumulated the elements 
of semi-permanent defences on Fujiyama, and had told off 
120,000 stay-at-home troops for the defence of Tokio ? 



284 IMPREGNABLE FORTRESSES 

In countries where the military engineer and the 
specialist rule as tyrants, and the sciences they expound 
are accepted as the capital branches of the art of war, 
we know at once that instincts are debased, and that 
the countries themselves are falling into a rapid military 
decline. The corps of Engineers supplies all countries 
with some of the orightest ornaments of the profession 
of arms. Nevertheless, it is generally a misfortune 
when an engineer, who has been absorbed for years in 
the technical side of his work, attains to the highest 
rank in the army and to a position of preponderance in 
councils of state. The art of war is as far as possible 
removed from an exact science. Questions of finesse, 
sagacity, character, tradition, and other moral elements 
enter into every problem of war, and the man whose 
mind is mainly formed by the study of exact sciences 
has only a sorry equipment to fit him for the higher 
leading of troops. As between the most accomplished 
of engineers and a soldier who is a man of the world in 
the best sense of the term, with wide experience of men 
and things, the choice of a leader of men is never in 
doubt. 

If we could combine thorough scientific training in 
early years with the broad grasp of affairs which can 
only come from ripe experience in a wide field of 
activities, then we could promise ourselves a succession 
of Gordons, Kitcheners, and Sydenham Clarkes ; but 
such combination is at present wholly fortuitous even 
in England, and almost impossible an)rwhere else. The 
engineer is a good servant, but a bad master, and his 
supremacy in military councils is generally a sign of 
decadence in the art of war. Nevertheless, we must 
not rush fit)m one extreme to another, nor cry upon 
the house-tops that the art of the engineer is useless to 
the modem state. Fortification, intelligently employed 
and kept in its proper and very subordinate place, is 
useful, and must not be depreciated because some clever 
scientists occasionally break loose and are allowed to run 
riot in their speciality at home or abroad. 



AMERICA'S COAST DEFENCES 285 

A sane national policy will never admit the plea of 
the extremists that all fortification is harmful. Even 
the United States, quick as they have been to learn the 
secrets of sea power 'expounded with such rare force 
and ability by Mahan, have not allowed their coasts to 
remain disarmed, and are now engaged upon a perhaps 
too monumental work to promote the security of their 
commercial harbours ana to free the navy for the 
pursuance of its legitimate mission. Great centres of 
maritime activity must not be exposed to the ruinous 
enterprise of a raiding division of armoured or other 
cruisers, nor must hostile warships of any kind be 
allowed to steam unfought within range of arsenals, 
which are the factories and the foundation of naval 
activity on home and foreign stations. But between 
the reasonable security thus afforded and the creation 
of a vast place-of-arms defended by 80,000 men and 500 
guns there is a very wide gulf. 

We must not make too much of American enthu- 
siasm for coast defence, since the political factor enters 
fiir too largely into these designs for us to accept them 
as our model. We shall venture to prophesy that, 
when strictly military principles inspire American 
initiative, the grass will grow over many of these dis- 
carded works, and that the keen intellect of our sharp 
but misguided cousins will bend the energies of the race 
into the preparation of offensive war — the only form 
of hostilities which affects the decisions of a potential 
enemy. 

If the Japanese decide to besiege Port Arthur, we 
shall witness either the apotheosis, or the unregretted 
demise, of the first-class fortress. 

No one can say that the place itself fails to fulfil 
nearly all the requirements of the text-books. In the 
words of the Novoe Vreinya^ " Port Arthur, according 
to the conviction of the best authorities, is not merely 
a first-class fortress, but the most impregnable of all 
first-class fortresses." It is a phrase to be retained. 

If we consider that the defence of Port Arthur has 



286 IMPREGNABLE FORTRESSES 

been the labour of years ; that strong, semi-closed works, 
with gorges protected by masonry walls loopholed for 
musketry, and ditches flanked by escarp and counter- 
scarp galleries, quarried out of the rock, have been 
constructed on all the surrounding heights, and, further, 
that some 400 siege guns, besides naval ordnance, are 
in position, mounted on disappearing or overbank 
carnages, we are entitled to conclude that, if 88,000 
Russians of the land and sea forces cannot hold out 
almost indefinitely in this fastness, all the cost and 
labour and art will have been misapplied* 

Since modem artillery reached its present stage of 
development and enlisted the aid of nigh explosives, 
permanent fortification has never been subjected to the 
supreme test of serious war. Our late enemies the 
Boers, once acquainted with the power of our artillery, 
very wisely regarded the forts of Pretoria as useless 
lumber, and adopted tactics calculated to render our 
guns as far as possible harmless. Against Boer snipers, 
sheltering behind rocks the size of Apsley House, 
modern artillery was almost disarmed, nor was the 
wanderinff pom-pom in the invisible donga a much 
more satisfactory mark. Yet on the rare occasions 
when the Boers occupied text-book positions, such as 
the breastwork above Hart's Hill on the Tugela, or 
Bergandal Kopje, the power of modem artillery asserted 
itself, and gave a fair indication of what might be 
achieved against closed works by a properly organised 
siege train in the hands of trained artillerymen. To 
call a man an artilleryman is not to make him one, and 
garrison artillery demands even greater science and 
more highly developed training than the more popular 
branches of the Royal Regiment. We have seen what 
absence of training has meant at Port Arthur. The 
roadstead, swept by the fire of 150 Russian guns on 
shore, has been the happy hunting-ground of the light 
flotiUa of the Japanese navy for over four months. 
During this period the flotilla has ranged through the 
roadstead at will, and in a dozen fights has not had to 



SIEGE GUNS 237 

deplore the loss of a solitary torpedo boat sunk by 
Russian fire, although a single projectile from a single 
gun, properly aimed, would have sent any one of these 
craft to the bottom. The fact is as inconceivable as 
the inference is momentous, and, if searching tests in 
night firing are not imposed upon garrison artillery, one 
of the most striking lessons of this war will have been 
n^lected. 

We do not at present know whether the Japanese 
intend to besiege Port Arthur or merely to invest it, 
although the Battle of Kinchou points to drastic 
measures. But it is probable that, if General Oku or 
some other commander is ordered and able to drive in 
the Russian garrison at Port Arthur behind the works 
of the main line of defence, and to place his batteries 
within medium ranges, the storm of fire that will 
eventually descend upon the forts in the sector chosen 
for attack should silence these works without great 
difficulty^ Against the high-angle fire of heavy howit- 
zers, in positions invisible to the enemy, supported by 
the sweeping, scythe-like action of shrapnel fired by 
high velocity guns, fortress defence soon experiences the 
sense of all its inherent weakness. With ample bomb- 

Sroof cover and resolute troops, the enemy may not be 
riven out ; the hotter the fire the less the chance either 
of reinforcement or retreat. But a closed work can be 
so wrecked and overwhelmed by the converging fire of 
the heaviest distant batteries that its main armament 
may be reduced to impotence during the progress of the 
succeeding assault. 

The work of landing, transporting, and placing in 
battery the great siege guns required to secure superi- 
ority of fire in a given sector is very heavy, and must 
always take a very long time. But it is not necessary 
that the guns of the attack should be numerically 
superior to the whole armament of the fortress ; all that 
is required is that they should prove superior to the 
armament of a given sector of the defence, the fall of 
which will entail the fall of the whole. 



288 IMPREGNABLE FORTRESSES 

Hitherto the Japanese naval bombardments have 
been trivial, preliminary, and experimental. What 
preparations the sailors of Japan may have made to 
second the efforts of the army we do not know, but it is 
possible that the na\'y both expects and intends to play 
a leading part in the final act. But even if it were 
otherwise, the events of the war show that 12-in. guns 
can rake the defended area from end to end ; they may 
also prove able to strike in flank and in reverse the forts 
of the land sector assailed by the army. 

Worst of all will be the deplorable situation of the 
Pacific squadron, cooped up in the narrow harbour like 
pleasure-boats in Boulter's Lock on a June Sunday, 
almost wholly defenceless and immobile, and with their 
decks exposcMl to the fatal effect of high-angle fire from 
all points of the horizon. 

When this scabrous moment arrives the Russian 
defenders may remember Dragomiroff and his advice, 
so *• energetically repudiated " ; while Englishmen will 
recall the words of the late Lord Salisbury at the Albert 
Hall in May, 1898 : '' I think Russia has made a great 
mistake in taking Port Arthur ; I do not think it is of 
any use to her whatever." 



CHAPTER XXIV ^ 

THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE, 
JUNE 14-28 

The Russian march down the Liautung Peninsula has 
been undertaken and has met with the fate it deserved. 
Nearly ten thousand' men killed, wounded, and prisoners, 
with colours and 14 guns left as trophies for the enemy, 
represent the penalty of incompetence in the higher 
command and cause us to doubt whether the directing 
spirit on the Russian side is wholly accountable for its 
actions. By whose orders or to what purpose this rash 
adventure was undertaken no one can say ; but, until 
evidence is given to clear General Kuropatkin of the 
responsibility, on him alone falls the blame. There is 
no disgrace in defeat in battle if a commander has given 
himself and his troops all the chances that circumstances 
afibrd. But the hazarding of detachments far from 
support, in situations where even success can lead to 
no serious benefit, and their deliberate exposure to the 
overwhelming attack of superior numbers, gives the 
enemy 99 chances in 100 of victory. It is too much. 

The so-called despatch by General Kuropatkin in 
reference to the battle carries us no further than the 
morning of June 15, and then discreetly drops the 
curtain to veil from us the closing scene. The despatch 

* Compiled from articles in The Time* of June VI, 20, 23 and July 7> 
1904. 

' General Kuropatkin admitted 3^200 casualties, but added that the list 
was incomplete. The Japanese buried 1,854 Russian dead and took 300 
prisoners ; the Russian wounded are estimated at 7,400 men. 

239 



240 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE | 

is dated the I^th, and appears to consist of a succesdcm 
of telegrams clumsily pieced together, and with all, ot 
nearly all, the illuminatmg paragraphs removed. (Tenenl 
Kuropatkin could not have penned such a fragmentary 
and mconsequent narrative if he had tried, and we 
must rather attribute this tangle of confused dates and 
muddled incidents to some underling at the Russiaa 
capital who has been ordered to strike out all paragraphs 
explaining the consequences of the movements descriMd. 
No soldier who studies the plans of the battlefidd 
of Telissu will feel any surprise at the heavy casualtj 
list of June 15. It is a revelation of the tactics of tfaie 
respective combatants. On the Russian side there wck 
about 84 battalions, a cavahy brigade, and the artilleij 
of three divisions — namely, 96 guns — and it seemft 
reasonable to conclude that not less than 85,000 com'* 
batants were on the field. Against these the Japanew 
brought up the best part of three divisions and 
a cavalry brigade, while it is allec^ed, but not yet 
proved, that their artillery was double the strength of 
the Russian. General Baron Stackelberg, who com- 
manded the Russian force, appears to have occupied the 
very restricted front allotted to an army corps by the 
Russian regulations, framed for the Massenschlacht cm 
the Vistula, and to have fought an old-world battle in 
an old-world manner. When General Oku became 
aware of the Russian advance he at once determined on 
attack, expecting that the enemy would cling to the 
railway, and intending to hold him at Telissu while 
turning his right and cutting off his retreat. The right 
wing, consisting of cavalry, moved up the Tashaho, the 
centre along the railway, while the left, leaving the 
Fuchan road at Wukiatun, headed for Nachialing» 
whence easy access could be obtained to the right of 
the Russian position. This movement began ftx>m 
Pulautien on June IS, and the Russians appeared to 
ignore the threat of the Japanese left By noon on the 
14th the Japanese centre and left were on a line from 
Tapingkou to Chaochiatun (N.). A reconnaissance 



ARTILLERY FIRE 241 

showed that the Russians were massed astride the 
railway, and apparently anticipated a frontal attack. 
The Japanese centre pushed on, and, establishing their 
artillery in position, engaged the Russians at a range of 
8 to 4 kilometres. On the night of June 14-15 the 
Japanese advanced to Tayankou, the right conforming, 
while the flanking column on the left reached Nachia- 
linff as ordered. In a foggy morning on June 15 a fierce 
artdlery duel began at 5 a.m., and three hours later the 
Japanese centre began to advance. At 9.30 the flank 
attack began to develop, the troops advancing from this 
side in three columns n'om the Kaokiatun heights upon 
Wanchiatun, Makiafaushan, and Hanchiatun. To meet 
this dangerous enveloping attack the Russians placed 
guns upon Lunkoushan, and were compelled to check 
a plucky offensive movement which had begun against 
the Japanese right at too early an hour before the 
battle had taken shape. The whole Japanese line then 
advanced, and by 3 p.m. the enemy was broken and 
fled in confusion, with a loss of some 8,000 to 10,000 
men, 20 guns, and 400 prisoners. The Japanese lost 
some 900 killed and wounded. 

Highly coloured word-pictures of the severity of the 
Japanese artillery fire have been put forward to account 
for the Russian defeat and loss of guns. It is true that 
quick-firing artillery had here its first chance of demon- 
strating all its power and of employing the rafale or 
gust-fire with fatal effect. But there should have been 
no surprise as to its results, since the trial-ground has 
long ago proved all that it is necessary to know about 
numbers of bullets which fall in a given space in a given 
time and similar questions so dear to theorists, and it 
only remains for generals to adopt tactics suitable to 
the age. Stackelberg's position was turned on both 
flanks and exposed to fire at effective ranges from front, 
flanks, and rear. Against such fire no human troops 
can stand up, and it is the affair of generalship to 
prevent its occurrence. 

The Russians got clear after heavy losses, the record 

16 



242 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

of which mounts up day by day. The defeated troops 
covered twenty-two miles between 8 p.m. and night, 
and continued their flight on the 16th, when they must 
have reached Kaiping in a very disorganised and 
exhausted condition. Japanese troops from Siuyen 
reached the Sanpaling Pass over the Sungyo hills on 
the 16th, and must have been just too late to head off 
the retreat. 

The most serious matter in all this affair is the 
doubtful point which arises whether Kuropatkin possesses 
the strategical instinct indispensable for the successful 
command of large forces in the field. The Yalu was 
bad enough, but so long as it remained alone the defeat 
might have been unchivalrously allowed to stand to the 
account of a subordinate, as so frequently happened in 
South Africa. The Yalu was followed, however, by 
the long inactivity of the Russian army in front of 
General Kuroki, affording that leader time to secure 
his position and to receive reinforcements. Then came 
Kinchou, and the proof it afforded that some 80,000 
Russian troops had been deliberately imprisoned in 
the Kwantung trap, a disaster followed by aimless 
skirmishes along General Kuroki's front in which the 
Russians invariably contrived to be inferior in numbers 
and were always compelled to retreat. Finally, there is 
the crowning folly of this march to the south, confirming 
the conclusions which earlier events have been slowly 
compelling us to form. 

However fiiUy we may admit the difficulties of 
Kuropatkin's position, this succession of errors and 
defeats discloses that the genius of leadership is not 
very highly developed in the Russian commander, and 
that he is unable to rise to the level of a serious situa- 
tion. The good old rule was to march separately and 
fight united. The Russian commander reverses the 
order, and he may take cold comfort from the fact that 
he is not the first general by a great many who has 
failed by reason of his inability to keep his forces 
together. 



A ROUTED ARMY 248 

Some criticism has been aroused by the failure of 
the Japanese army at Telissu to pursue effectively, but 
pursuits are as easy in theory as they are difficult in 
practice. The Japanese who were engaged at Telissu 
were Oku's Second Army, which had fought the severe 
action of Kinchou on May 26. Before Telissu these 
troops had marched hard for five days, during four of 
which there had been constant fighting, culminating 
in the battle of the 15th with its serious losses. The 
troops were widely scattered at the end of the day, and 
probably in some confusion. No one who has witnessed 
that marvellous spectacle, an army in flight, as most 
British soldiers have often done, can be sanguine that 
an organised force can often hope to come up with it. 
Moreover, there was a fair chance that Russian re- 
inforcements would meet the retreating army and show 
front, while the movements of the victors were necessarily 
dependent on those of other columns not yet completely 
ready to advance. In these circumstances the Japanese 
were wise to spend the afternoon of the 15th in resting 
their men, restoring order, and replenishing their 
ammunition and supplies. Of what they did on the 
16th and subsequently we still await information. All 
we know for certain is that a Japanese force reached a 
point twenty-five miles south of Kaiping on June 21 ; 
of further fighting there is as yet no serious evidence. 

When General Kuropatkin heard of Stackel berg's 
defeat he ordered down troops from Haicheng to 
cover the retreat, and went in person to review the 
situation and to address his beaten troops. A routed 
army is not a pleasant sight, and the stories he will 
have heard to account for the disaster will not have 
been encouraging. On the 19th, according to his report 
of that day to the Tsar, he seems to have begun to think 
that he saw a glimmer of light in the prevailing darkness. 
The 6,000 men he sent to Saimatse found nothing in 
front of them, while reconnaissances towards Fenghwang- 
chenn met with little resistance. The Russian general 
appears surprised. On the other hand, reports of what 



244 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

he describes as a ** rather important movement " in the 
direction of Haicheng and Tashihchiao have come in, 
and he may anticipate a formidable attack upon these 
points by the massed forces of his enemy. 

Some observers in this country have criticised the 
great extension of the Japanese front, pointing out that 
it covers nearly 250 miles and oflfers an excellent chance 
for a counter-stroke by the Russian commander. The 
front covered, or rather scouted, is certainly great, and 
it has had the effect of compelling Kuropatkin to detach 
troops to watch all avenues of approach over an inunense 
area. But if the Japanese march separately, they at 
least fight united, or at all events have hitherto aone 
so, and there is nothing whatever at this moment, save 
some scattered Russian garrisons in the mountains, to 
hinder a combined advance over the passes into the 
Liau Valley by the united forces of practically the whole 
active army of Japan in Manchuria. It would be the 
culmination of one of the best-thought-out and most 
interesting strategic plans that the world has seen since 
the time of Napoleon, and the result of this first phase 
of the campaign will depend upon the issue of the 
fighting. 

From Fenghwangchenn, Siuyen,and Kaiping colunms 
can converge, as in 1894, into the Liau Valley, and the 
fact of small mobile forces having made feints over the 
wide front held by the First Army offers absolutely no 
proof whatever that the Japanese are converts to the 
system of petits paguets when serious business is afoot 
When the gillie is ready with the gaff we do not have 
out so much line as while our fish is playing himself 
tired. 

Three weeks at most separate us from the season of 
the rains, and in these three weeks Kuropatkin's reputa- 
tion as a general and the fate of his covering troops 
holding the passes will probably be decided. Nothing 
whatever that he can do in the way of a counter-stroke 
from his centre or left can seriously aflfect the situation 
if his main force stands at Haicheng or elsewhere in this 



THE VLADIVOSTOK CRUISERS 245 

district and is attacked by the united strength of the 
Japanese armies converging upon him. He may take 
Saimatse, even Fenghwangchenn and Antung, and 
march right down into Korea if he pleases ; nothing on 
this side, not even Rennenkampf s eccentric rovings, 
will have the slightest consequence if the main army is 
overwhelmed. When once the weight of the Japanese 
army is thrown upon the side of Haicheng, Antung and 
Takushan become needless as bases. Store and supply 
ships can utilise the west coast of the Liautung Penin- 
sula and accompany the army ; there is Dalny and the 
railway, probably restored, and in due course there will 
be Niuchwang and the Liau itself, navigable for junks 
as far as Tieling, the throat of the Russian line of 
retreat, upon which the Japanese General Staff must 
long to close its grip. 

The Russian cruisers at Vladivostok have hitherto 
done little to boast about. Their cruise in the Sea of 
Japan between February 9 and 14 only resulted in the 
sinking of a small merchant vessel. On April 25 they 
made a fresh appearance off Gensan and sank the 
Kinshu Maru, carrying a company of infantry, who 
refused to surrender. 

This squadron, consisting of the Grromoboiy Rossia, 
and Rurik, appeared off Tsushima in the Straits of 
Korea on June 15, in pursuance of its allotted duty 
of interfering with the maritime communications of 
the enemy, and sank the Japanese transport Hitachi 
Maru, of 6,000 tons, reducing also the Saao Maru to a 
condition which barely enabled her to be run ashore. 
Not the slightest effort was made by the Russian 
cruisers to save the Japanese on board the sinking 
vessels, and for this neglect the Russian navy incurred 
universal reprobation. 

Of these cruisers the Rurik is the slowest and least 
efficient, and as long as the division keeps together the 
speed of the whole will be limited to that of the slowest 
ship. The long inactivity of these cruisers and the 
existence of a fine dock at their base enabled them to 



246 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

put to sea in good trim for cruising and fighting, but it 
would be a sanguine estimate that would give the Rurik 
a continuous sea-speed of more than 15 knots at the 
outside. 

It will be observed from the record of its course after 
leaving the Straits of Korea that this cruiser division 
steamed at an average speed of 11*5 knots, and as it 
steamed due east and then south after leaving Vladi- 
vostok, we must believe that the Russian Admiral 
Besobrazoff left port about nightfall on June 11. Three 
days' steaming at an economical rate of speed on the 
course attributed to him would have brought the Russian 
admiral to the neighbourhood of Tsushima on the 
evening of the 14th. He lay off that island during the 
night, and was last heard of in the Genkai Gulf at about 
4 p.m. on the 15th, being then 40 miles distant from 
Moji, at the entrance to the Straits of Shimonoseki, and 
having effected all the damage that lay in his power 
within the limits of time he was able to allow himself. 

What was Admiral Kamimura doing all this time ? 
We are not told, but we are informed that he started 
in pursuit at 9.80 a.m. on the 15th, and from other 
sources we learn that warships left Sasebo the same day 
in chase of the Russians. Tne inference, which may be 
right or wrong, is that Kamimura was at Sasebo when 
the news of the raid reached him. By remaining in the 
Genkai Sea for so long the Russians ran a very fair 
chance of interception, and, if the Japanese arrange- 
ments had been at all on a level with the requirements 
of the situation, the Russian cruisers would have been 
followed and effectively kept under observation, if not 
also attacked by torpedo craft or warships, in the course 
of the afternoon or night of the 15th. 

The Japanese proceedings in respect to the Vladi- 
vostok cruisers have from the first been singularly 
unfortunate. Admiral Kamimura has twice allowed 
the enemy to slip through his fingers, to effect damage, 
and to get off scot-free. Considering the strong and 
fairly numerous division believed to be at his disposal 



ADMIRAL BESOBRAZOFF 247 

and the enhanced power of the superior navy accruing 
from wireless telegraphy, the result is distinctly dis- 
appointing. 

The Russian admiral seems to have calculated to a 
nicety the number of hours he could allow himself for 
braving the islanders in the heart of their home waters. 
If he knew that Kamimura was at Sasebo or Masanpo he 
would also have known that at the first sign of his appear- 
ance there would be an angry buzz and hot pursuit. With 
an inferior force, and at a distance of 650 miles from his 
base, the question he had to decide was what to do next. 
If he had shaped a course for Vladivostok, the chances 
are that the superior speed of the Japanese vessels would 
have led to a collision, or at least brought them to 
Vladivostok before him. He therefore very wisely 
steamed north-east, made prize of a sailing vessel four 
miles off Oki Island, where he was seen at 8 p.m. on 
the 16th, and continued his course towards the western 
entrance of the Tsugaru Straits, where he was seen and 
reported at 5.30 a.m. on the 18th, having covered the 
distance of 700 miles from the scene of his depredations 
in 61 1^ hours, or at a continuous speed of 11*5 knots. 
He was bound to ask himself what orders the Japanese 
admiral would be given when the Korean Straits were 
reported clear of Russians, and he may have judged that, 
if Kamimura found no trace of his enemy in the straits, 
he would naturally head for Vladivostok at full speed. 

If the Japanese had utilised the islands which stand 
like sentries athwart the northern approaches to the 
Straits of Korea for the purposes of wireless telegraphy, 
a perfect network of maritime intelligence might have 
been secured and all this loss prevented. These islands 
lie in ideal positions for the purpose, forming a chain 
of natural posts of observation 250 miles north of the 
straits. With wireless equipment on the islands of 
Argonaut, Dagelet, Hornet, and Oki, connected with 
the telegraph system of Korea and Japan on each flank, 
and supplemented by a service of scouts for night patrol- 
ling, no enemy could well have passed to the south 



248 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

unobserved and unreported, since the greatest distance 
between any two of these points is under 100 miles. 
The position of these islands recalls the Cyanean rocks, 
which, according to ancient tradition, floated on the face 
of the waters of the Bosporus to protect the entrance 
of the Euxine from the eyes of profane curiosity. 

When the Russian admiral reached the western 
entrance of the Tsugaru Straits he had been six and 
a half days at sea, and must have covered some 1,500 
miles. In the old days sails allowed of systematised 
cruiser warfare, and there were no limitations to means 
of propulsion save want of wind, which affected both 
sides in equal measure. To-day the radius of action of 
the croiseur-corsaire, and indeed of steamships and war- 
ships of all kinds, is limited by the question of coal, 
which places cruiser warfare upon a totally different 
basis. Judging by our own experiences, and reckoning 
that the Russians steamed throughout their cruise at a 
reasonably economical rate of speed, we should expect 
the Rurik to have used up one-half of her maadmum 
bunker capacity of coal by the morning of the 18th — 
namely, between 900 and 1,000 tons out of the 2,000 
she is believed to be able to take on board. Her lease 
of life, provided no fresh supplies were available and 
the division did not come to anchor, would then be 
limited to June 24, by which time she, and probably 
her consorts too, must obtain fresh coal or run the risk 
of perishing by sheer inanition. 

All this must have been considered before Besobra- 
zoff* left port, and, as he has not as yet been interfered 
with, we must believe that his plans are proceeding 
according to programme. It is a fascinating problem 
to weigh the chances of what these plans may be, since, 
if only a sailor of wide and varied experience can pre- 
tend to form a conclusion, it may be permissible for 
others to endeavour to point out the immense difficulties 
that beset the conduct of maritime war under new and 
wholly modem conditions. 

Attention should first be drawn to the fact that the 



PLYING OR MOVABLE BASE 249 

Russian admiral was last seen heading north-west on 
the morning of Saturday last, and that, continuing on 
his present course, he must either make for the Gulf of 
Tartary or traverse the Straits of La P^rouse and enter 
the ocean. The Gulf of Tartary is not completely open 
to navigation before the end of May, and this fact may 
partly explain the long inactivity of the Vladivostok 
division, smce at an earlier period this avenue of escape 
would not have been open. There are at Vladivostok 
ships like the Lena^ which might serve as storeships 
ana colliers, and might easily have left port with the 
admiral and have been given a rendezvous at Nikolaievsk 
or elsewhere. Again, it is possible, during the long 
period that has elapsed since the war began, that the 
Russian Admiralty may have despatched colliers from 
Europe or America to meet the cruisers at some unfre- 

auented island in the Pacific, and have thus afforded 
iiem more scope and liberty. 

The flying or movable base has not received the 
attention it deserves on the part of some naval Powers. 
It seems to have been proved that floating docks, con- 
structed in sections, can be towed at the rate of 100 
miles a day, and if to this be added storeships, coUiers, 
and all the other requirements of a cruiser division, 
it is possible to transform some unfrequented island or 
harbour into a very valuable base, combining all the 
advantages of the useful with the unexpected. Whether, 
however, we can credit the Russian Admiralty with the 
skill and energy required for the accomplishment of such 
a task is an open question, and of these two objectives — 
Nikolaievsk, or an island in the Pacific — the former seems 
more probable as the rendezvous of the colliers, if they 
have been provided. 

But we have also to consider that the Russian 
admiral must have been perfectly well aware that his 
appearance off the Tsugaru Straits and his disappearance 
to the north would be instantly reported at Tokio. If 

* The Lena broke out and made for San Francisco, where she was interned 
tiU Uie end of the war. 



250 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

he had intended to make for Nikolaievsk unobserved, 
or to become lost in the ocean, he would have kept out 
of sight of land. The hope of picking up a stray steamer 
or two off the straits would hardly have induced him to 
show himself at this point, since he would have known 
that the news of his appearance on the 14th would have 
been immediately telegraphed to Hakodate and that the 
movements of aU steamers would have been cancelled. 
On the other hand, he may have hoped and expected 
that the news of his northward course would reach 
Kamimura at Vladivostok about the 19th or 20th and 
would have drawn him away from his watch. 

In these circumstances, if Admiral Besobrazoff de- 
sired to regain his base, he would be likely to double 
in his tracks on the evening of the 18th and steam hard 
to the south, hoping to slip back to port unobserved on 
the night of the 20th or 21st,^ when his enemy had been 
coaxed away. There is so much Grand Duke in the 
Russian strategy that there is a very fair chance that 
the Russian admiral may not have been allowed to cut 
himself entirely adrift from Vladivostok, as his situation 
seems to require. So long as he can be used as a pawn 
in the game, so long may the Russian Admiralty cling 
to him in the desperate hope of diverting the Japanese 
from their prey at Port Arthur. 

To some extent, indeed, his diversion in the straits 
may have reduced the pressure of pursuit if the Bayan 
and Novik and a few other of the faster vessels enaea- 
voured to escape their impending doom. The sudden 
appearance of the Noxnk outside Port Arthur on the 
14th, synchronising as it did with Besobrazoff*s raid, 
had all the appearance of concerted action, but the 
cruiser returned to port, and there has been no ftuther 
sign of an endeavour to escape. The act would not 
necessarily be impossible, given a fair share of luck and 
less than half the intelligence displayed by Prince Louis 
of Battenberg during the Mediterranean manoeuvres 
of 1902. 

* The squadron returned to VUdivoBtok on June 20. 



KAMIMURA'S ACTION 251 

All now depends upon the action of Kamimura. 
If he is wise he will remain near Vladivostok till the 
morning of the 24th or 25th, certain that, if Besobrazoff 
does not return by that date, he must have other designs 
in view and other means of replenishing his bunkers. 
The regulation harbour of refuge is a terrible incubus 
to cruisers forced to use it, affording as it does a bench- 
mark to the enemy, who can always hope that here, at 
least, he will sooner or later run his enemy to ground.^ 

Following closely upon BesobrazofF's raid there came 
a very half-hearted attempt of the Russian squadron 
at Port Arthur to break the Japanese blockade on 
June 28. The mechanics from the Baltic yards had 

' This account has been allowed to stand as a good instance of the fog 
of naval war under modem conditions. I^ter information threw more light 
upon Kamimura's action, and disclosed the difficulties under which this excel- 
lent officer laboured. It appears that Admiral Kamimura became aware at 
8 a.m on the 15th that the hostile cruisers were off Oki Island, steering south- 
ward. He at once despatched torpedo boats to guard the channel between 
Tsushima and Lkishima, ordered west-bound steamers to take refuge at 
Takeshiki, and telegraphed to Moji harbour to postpone all departures. 

He then set out witti his squadron to meet the enemy, and by means of 
wireless telegraphy ordered the warships at Takeshiki and the scouting vessels 
to join at an appointed rendezvous. The weather was thick and stormy, and 
the conditions adverse for a successful chase. The cruiser Ttushima, however, 
sighted the enemy and maintained touch, reporting at noon that the enemy 
were fifteen miles south of Oki Island. At 1.30 p.m. she reported that they 
were five miles from the same point The weather then thickened and she 
lost sight of the enemy altogether. Kamimura hastened to the south of Oki 
Island, but could find nothing ; he then made chase to the north, hoping to 
engage the enemy in the morning, and his torpedo boats searched for the 
Rnasians throughout the night In the morning the weather cleared, and 
though the search was continued throughout the days of the 16th and 17th 
it proved fruitless, and Kamimura returned to his base in the straits. The 
Russians, meanwhile, after allowing themselves to be signalled from Hok- 
kaido on the 17th, and off the Tsugaru Straits on the 18th, steering north, 
doubled back on the night of the 18th, and reached Vladivostok on the 20th. 
The destroyers had also made a raid and had reached the Japanese coast, but 
had not effected any serious damage. 

It will be interesting to learn, later on, the orders under which Kamimura 
was acting, and the principles which governed the strategy laid down for him 
at this period. Apparently Japan did not possess the necessary margin of 
naval strength to permit of a constant watch upon Vla<livostok. She there- 
fore concentrated her energies upon the main objective, and steadily refused 
to abandon the substance for the shadow. With Port Arthur closely beset, 
and the Straits of Korea strongly held, she was apparently content to allow 
the Vladivostok cruisers the run of their teeth until the fall of Port Arthur 
was an accomplished fact, certain that nothing they could do would materially 
influence the course of the war. 



252 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

succeeded in patching up the ships injured in previous 
operations in a more rapid and effectual manner 
than had been anticipated. The dry dock at Port 
Arthur could not take in a battleship at the out- 
break of war, though it could take a cruiser. The 
repairs of the Novik were made good by February 21, 
and those of the Pallada three weeks later. The 
Tsarevitch and Retvisan were repaired by the use 
of coffer-dams, and were ready for sea by June 20, 
having thus been useless for 182 critical days. The 
sortie of the squadron, almost at full strength, was in 
the nature of a surprise. 

On the morning of June 23 the Japanese inshore 
squadron saw three Russian battleships, five cruisers, 
and ten destroyers emerging from the harbour, pre- 
ceded by several counter-mining vessels. A report was 
immediately sent to Admiral Togo, who hastened to 
the rendezvous at Encounter Rock, sending forward 
two of his torpedo flotillas to assist the scouts. At 
11 a.m. three more battleships came out, and some 
fighting ensued between the Japanese light craft 
and the Russian destroyers, one of which took fire. 
When the fairway was clear, the Novik, always badly 
handled by Captain von Essen, steamed out to sea, 
followed by the squadron. As on April 18, one 
Japanese squadron drew the enemy towards the south, 
while Togo, with the main battle fleet, lay in waiting 
near Encounter Rock and concentrated his destroyers. 
His total force was four battleships, four armoured 
cruisers, several smaller cruisers, and twenty-two torpedo 
craft At 6.15 p.m. the Russians were sighted eight 
miles north-west of the island in double column line 
ahead, steering south. Admiral Togo steamed out on 
a parallel course, and at 7.80 p.m. the two fleets were 
14,000 metres apart. As the Japanese edged nearer, 
intending to draw towards the enemy's van, the 
Russian admiral Vithoft changed course slightly to 
starboard. A little later, or about 8 p.m., he gave 
up the idea of battle, if indeed he had ever seriously 



TABLES OF CO-EFFICIENTS 258 

entertained it, or had any definite purpose in view at 
all, and, changing his course, steered for the syren 
harbour. The Japanese turned together eight points, 
and pursued in line till sunset at 8.20 p.m., when they 
ported eight points and sent forward the torpedo craft 
to attack. At 9.80 p.m. this attack was dehvered five 
miles from harbour, but it was ineffective, and at 
10.80 p.m. the Russians were back in the roadstead, 
where they were again attacked several times in the 
course of the night, but without success. On June 24 
the squadron re-entered port, some ships towed and 
some under their own steam. 

Some interesting points relating to this sortie are 
raised by M. Bernet in Le Teffips. He informs us 
that, according to the Russian table of co-efficients, 
based on tonnage, speed, and armament, the Japanese 
battleships of Admiral Togo's squadron on June 28 
were to Vithoft s battleships in the proportion of 92*7 
to 191, but that the Japanese cruisers represented 266 
to the Russian 89. 

It may be remarked that the French version of the 
Viceroy's account of the proceedings on June 28 gives 
Admiral To^o only three first-class battleships, while 
our version gives him four. This may make a difFerence 
in M. Bernet's figures, but, taking them as they stand, 
they give rise to some considerations. When the 
Russian admiral informs us that he avoided battle 
because the enemy's squadron was greatly superior, 
we are asked to believe that he had a calculating officer 
on the bridge who informed him, with the desired 
rapidity, that he was 78 7 points inferior to his enemy, 
and was therefore not in a position to engage. " I 
decided to return," he says, " esteeming that these 
tactics would occasion less loss. •' No one can gainsay 
that statement, but, if the Russian navy acts on the 
principles expounded by M. Bernet, we can only thank 
heaven that there were no tables of co-efficients in 
existence when England was in the making. 

All these endeavours to compare things that are 



254 THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE 

essentially not comparable are based upon utterly false 
notions of what war is and of the real forces that are 
in question and in play. Personal skill, intelligence, 
character, and, above all, resolution, are the dominating 
factors in all war, whether waged above or below the earth 
or the sea. How many of our greatest victories would 
have been obtained if commanders had worried them- 
selves about tables of co-efficients ? Certainly it is the 
business of governments to take all questions into 
account, and to place in the hands of army or navy 
the weapon suited to the work in hand. But the hour 
of action is not the time for meditation, or for poring 
over tables pretending to prove by A and B that so 
many third-class cruisers are superior to a first-class 
battleship — ^for that is what the suggestion claims. In 
battle the personal equation dominates everything, and 
it is only then, and sometimes, alas I too late, that a 
nation learns whether its trusted leaders are men of 
mettle or of straw. M. Bemet does not, indeed, 
neglect the moral factors, and everything he has to 
say on this subject is full of good sense, but he does 
not tell us what we really want to know — namely, the 
co-efficient of Togo in terms of Russian admirals. 

The same writer supplies some valuable information, 
evidently derived fi^om Russian sources, concerning the 
entrance channel to Port Arthur and the squadron 
within the harbour. The present depth in the channel 
at low water is, he declares, six metres ; consequently 
the Noviky with a draught of 5*70 m., is alone able to 
leave or enter port at all hours — a fact which explains 
the constant activity of this cruiser. On the other 
hand, such ships as the Pobicda^ Poltava^ and Peresviet 
draw 8 -80 m., and as the mean depth at high water is at 
present only 8*70 m., it is only during the comparatively 
brief period of high tide, and only then by day, that the 
battleships can put to sea. Whether due to the sunken 
steamers or to natural causes, the channel is extremely 
narrow, so much so that it takes half an hour for a 
battleship to leave port Even by interpolating cruisers 



TIDAL HARBOURS 255 

between battleships, as was done on the 28rd, the 
number of vessels that can go out in one tide is 
limited. It may be recalled that when the squadron 
put to sea before war was declared the operation took 
three days. Even after the first losses it was unable 
to put to sea at one tide, and can only accomplish this 
feat to-day in five hours with the utmost difficulty. 

These figures, assuming them to be correct, are 
exceedingly interesting, since they show that Port 
Arthur labours under the same disadvantages as many 
tidal harbours belonging to our European neighbours, 
and we are able for the first time to obtain positive 
proof of the grave defects of harbours of this character 
m time of war. To those who have studied these 
questions the facts are well known, but they are not 
known to the great body of the public. Warships 
coming out of tidal harbours can only do so at hours 
that can be exactly calculated by the enemy. When 
outside they must depart singly or await the appearance 
of their consorts. In the first case they can be attacked 
singly, and in the second they are exposed to the 
incidents we have witnessed at Port Arthur. If for 
any cause daylight is considered essential, the darkness 
may supervene before the squadron is ready to sail, or 
before tne tide serves for return. In any case the ships 
at anchor are vulnerable to torpedo boats by night and 
to submarines by day or night. Questions like these 
are among the practical difficulties of naval warfare and 
acts of invasion from over-sea, and it is useful that our 
attention should be directed to them. 



CHAPTER XXV ^ 

EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

The recent events at Port Arthur, and the better 
definition of the situation of the respective combatants 
in the Kwantung promontory by official, if fragmentary, 
despatches, enable us to leam something of the position 
of the attackers and attacked. It is also necessary to 
trace the operations of the field armies in outline from 
the hour of their deployment up to the end of July, so 
that a general glance may be given at the situation in 
its broadest aspects. 

It will be recalled that the Second Army of Japan 
commenced to land in the Liautung Peninsula on 
May 5 ; that the Nanshan lines were carried on May 26 
and the general advance upon Port Arthur begun on 
June 26, the identical date appointed for the main 
armies to attack the passes of Fenshuiling, Taling, and 
Motienling and to win the right of entry into the Liau 
VaUey. 

For a whole month no definite information as to 
the progress of the attack on Port Arthur was pub- 
lished by the Japanese Government. We heard the 
distant echoes of the fighting, and saw, as through a 
glass darkly, the steady progress of the operations of 
the Japanese, aiming at the restriction of the zone 
occupied by General Stossel's troops and the construc- 
tion of siege batteries on the conquered ground. The 
Russians published a despatch from the fortress on 

' From TkB Times of August 16, 1904. 
266 



WOLF HILL 257 

July 16, dealing with operations on the east front 
during July 3, 4 and 5. A Russian loss of 800 men 
was admitted, but it was claimed that the Japanese loss 
was far heavier, and that their intrenchments had been 
captured. The arrival of strong Japanese reinforce- 
ments at Dalny on July 2 was mentioned by General 
Stossel. These reports were neither confirmed nor 
denied at Tokio; all we were allowed to know was 
that Admiral Togo was keeping a close grip of the 
harbour with his inshore squadron and that nis torpedo 
craft continued to make scouting and mining attacks 
whenever an opportunity occurred. 

On August 7 a very brief despatch from General 
Stossel, or rather the first instalment of a serial story, 
was published at St. Petersburg, dealing with important 
events upon July 26, 27 and 28. The Russian com- 
mander claimed that all the Japanese attacks had been 
beaten back with enormous loss, but he admitted that 
the garrison had lost forty officers and 1,500 men killed 
and wounded in the course of these three days. It 
was not until two days later that the continuation of 
this despatch was allowed to see the light. Then it 
was made known that the Japanese had shown 70,000 
men and a large number of siege guns during the 
actions of the 26th and 27th, and that there had been 
no question of an assault, but only of a series of 
attacks along the whole investing line. The story of 
the more decisive operation to which these preliminaries 
had evidently led up was then unfolded. On July 80, 
at 4 a.m., while the Russians were still congratulating 
themselves on their success, the dawning light revealed 
five divisions of Japanese troops deployed and advancing 
to the attack of Wolf Hill, which they finally carried 
and still apparently hold. 

The east basin and dock should be secure except 
from indirect fire from Wolf Hill, but the general 
effect of the Japanese success on July 30 was to render 
the inner harbour untenable except at the risk of con- 
stant loss by a naval squadron, and, further, to split 

17 



258 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

up the defence of the fortress into two halves, enabling 
the Japanese to observe and punish any transfer of parts 
of the garrison by day from east to west, or inversely, 
except under shelter of covered ways. General Stossel 
tells us that in view of the enormous superiority of the 
enemy's forces and the weakness of the position, his 
troops received orders to retire without figfhting to the 
next position — that is to say, to the main line of defence, 
since none other intervenes. We can well believe 
General Stossel when he tells us that the retreat was 
effected in good order and that the accurate fire of 
artillery completely stopped the Japanese advance, but 
tlie pith of the matter is that the Japanese had gained 
the position they desired and had no immediate intention 
of advancing further. 

The occupation and preparation for defence of 
Wolf Hill under the close fire of the Russian forts 
must have been a difficult and costly business for the 
Japanese. Nevertheless, it seems to have been satis- 
factorily carried out and siege guns brought up, since 
Admiral Alexeieff's telegram of the 11th informs us 
that the port was bombarded with siege gims during 
the four days August 7 to 10. We have not been 
informed whether Takushan has been captured on the 
east front, but, if it has, the Japanese can bring a cross- 
fire to bear upon all points of refuge of the Russian 
ships. 

The harassed squadron supported the fire for three 
days and then took a decision, under compulsion, that 
should have been taken or rather persisted in on June 28 
under far more favourable conditions. When Admiral 
Vithoft put to sea on June 28, Admiral Togo had but 
four battleships — three, according to the French version 
of the despatch— to oppose to the Russian six, besides 
seventeen cruisers and thirty torpedo boats. A week 
before the sortie of August 10 the Japanese squadron 
came under Russian observation, and its strength was 
given at five battleships, four armoured and ten other 
cruisers, besides forty-eight torpedo craft. On the 



THE RUSSIAN SORTIE 259 

Russian side the Bayan was also out of action, and 
probably some of the light flotilla, which were available 
on June 23, were no longer effective owing to the 
constant activity of the Japanese destroyers. Thus 
the chances of success on August 10 were distinctly 
inferior to those on June 28, and the ships them- 
selves had been exposed for three days to the wearing 
effects of a bombardment to which they could not 



repl^. 



vithoft, it may be recalled, excused his failure to 
accept battle on June 28 for one reason, amongst others, 
that his decision would occasion less loss. That expres- 
sion he may have lived to regret, and it is difficult not 
to conclude that the fatal indecision on June 28 was 
an error fraught with disastrous consequences for the 
Russian navy. The events of August 10 resembled, 
up to a certain point, those of June 28. At dawn the 
Japanese ships on the horizon numbered eleven cruisers 
and seventeen torpedo boats, but before the difficult 
operation of passing all the Russian ships through the 
entrance channel was completed. Admiral Togo, warned 
in time, was ready, at his usual rendezvous, for the 
battle which he must have both anticipated and desired. 
About 11 a.m. the Russians put to sea, and, steering 
south, encountered the enemy twenty-five miles south- 
east of Port Arthur. 

*The morning was fine, with a slight haze and a 
light southerly breeze. At an early hour a series of 
wireless messages from the Japanese inshore squadron 
gave Admiral Togo warning of the Russian sortie and 
of the course steered by the enemy. Believing that the 
object of the Russians was to break south, Togo made 
for Encounter Rock, and was 7^ miles south-east of it 
by noon, whence he steered west-south-west at a speed 
of 10 knots. At 12.5 p.m. the Russians were sighted 
at a distance of 20,000 metres, and their force ascertained 
to be six battleships, four cruisers, and eight torpedo 

* The following account is taken from the letter of the Tokio correspondent 
of The Timeu dated October 1, 1904. 



260 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

craft. The battleships and three cruisers were in line 
ahead, Vithoft's flagship, the Tsarevitch, leading, fol- 
lowed by the Retmsan, Pobieda, Peresxnety Sevastopol^ 
Poltava, As/cold, Diana, and Pallada, in the order 
named. A hospital ship followed in rear, while the 
Noxnk and torpedo craft formed another column to 
port, at the interval of a mile. 

The Japanese admiral now manoeuvred to draw the 
enemy into the open sea, changing his formation to line 
abreast and then again to line ahead, altering his course 
to south-south-west At 12.85 p.m. the Russians 
changed their course slightly eastward, and, steaming 
at about 18 knots, increased the distance separating the 
fleets. At 12.58 p.m. Togo formed line abreast, and 
then, resuming line ahead, steered east-north-east, the 
Japanese cruisers now leading the line. The Russians 
gave way, and as they seemed inclined to head back to 
Port Arthur, Togo, at 1.25 p.m., altered course 16 points, 
reversing his direction and appearing to evade action. 

The Russians once more headed south, and at 
2.8 p.m. Togo steered to the eastward, his battleships 
now heading the line, and at 2.80 the squadrons were 
within range and opened the first serious fire. The 
Askold was badly nit, and, followed by the other 
cruisers, left the line and steamed to the port side of 
the battleships, taking no part in the subsequent action. 
The fleets were now 8,000 metres apart, and the Russian 
fire was mainly concentrated upon Togo's flagship, the 
Mika^a, which led the line. At 8.30 p.m. Togo ceased 
fire, raised his speed to 17 knots, and edged towards the 
Russian line. By 5.80 p.m., the two hnes being 7,800 
to 7,500 metres apart, the action recommenced, and a 
little later two armoured cruisers from the west re- 
inforced the Japanese line. At 5.56 p.m. a 12-in. 
shell struck the Mikasa, slightly wounded Prince 
Fushima, and jammed the turn-table of one of the 
barbettes, but the damage was quickly repaired. 

By 6 p.m. the fleets were 7,000 metres apart, and 
the fire became warmer. The Percsviet lost two masts. 



UKHTOMSKY'S SIGNAL 261 

while a shell bursting forward of the Mikasas bridge 
struck down a number of officers and men. In reply 
the Japanese flagship sent a shell which struck near 
the conning tower of the Tsarevitchy killing Admiral 
Vithoft and several other officers and men. Two other 
12-in. shells also struck the Tsarevitch; the flagship 
became unmanageable and left the line, sheering to 
port. Her consorts followed her, and fell into a 
confused group, offisring a fine target, of which the 
Japanese fully availed themselves, closing in to 3,500 
metres' range. On the death of Vithoft, the Tsarevitch 
made the signal ** the Admiral transfers the command," 
and the next senior officer, namely. Admiral Prince 
Ukhtomsky, who was on board the PeresvieU assumed 
control. 

At 7 p.m., when the firing of the Russians was 
perceptibly weakening, a fresh reinforcement of four 
ships joined Admiral Togo from the north. The 
Russians were now in disorder, while the Japanese 
preserved their formation, circling round the lYiob of 
Kussian ships and causing them loss and damage. At 
nightfall, or about 8.40 p.m., it was decided to send 
in the torpedo craft, but the Russian ships were now 
scattered and sought safety by independent flight, while 
the freshening wind and rising sea militated against 
the success of the torpedo. The only initiative Prince 
Ukhtomsky is known to have displayed on this day 
was the order given to make the signal "Follow the 
Peresviety' when this ship turned to head for Port 
Arthur. The damaged state of the Russian ships, their 
low speed, and the rapid depletion of the ammunition 
supplies are alleged to have caused the issue of this 
order. ^ 

The Japanese had 170 casualties, but their ships 
sustained no serious damage, and Admiral Togo states 
that such injuries as they have suffered hav-e been 

' The best account hitherto published of the naval campaign up to the 
fidl of Port Arthur is that by Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge^ G.(5.B., in Bnuteyn 
Naval Annual for 1905. 



262 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

temporarily repaired. All the information we have 
concerning the proceedings of the five Russian battle- 
ships which held together is that the Retvisan and 
Pooieda were sighted from a Japanese look-out station 
on the morning of the 11th making for Port Arthur, 
and Admiral Togo states that five battleships in all, and 
one cruiser, subsequently ascertained to be the PaUadaj 
regained such dubious sanctuary as the shell-swept 
harbour affords. Concerning the Russian losses m 
action, whether of ships or men, there is no complete 
information; but there were forty killed and 807 wounded 
on the six ships that returned to Port Arthur. The 
action of the various classes of cruisers on each side is 
at present undefined ; but the battleship Tsarevitchj 
together with the cruisers Askoldy Novik^ and Diana^ 
with several destroyers, all became detached for various 
reasons during the confiision, and fled to the southward. 
The Tsarevitch, with sixty killed and wounded, besides 
the Noxnk and some smaller craft, reached Tsingtau, in 
the German concession of Kiaochau, on the evening 
of the 11th. Rear- Admiral Matussevitch's account of 
the share of the Tsarexntch in the action is sufficient 
proof of the severity of the engagement. 

The Askold, with thirty-four killed and wounded and 
her guns disabled, arrived at Wusung, and claims to be 
allowed to dock. The Diana reached Saigon. One 
destroyer reached Chifu, and, after being partially dis- 
armed, was cut out by Japanese destroyers. Another 
was beached and blown up near Weihaiwei. The plucky 
little Noxnk steamed out of Tsingtau at 8 a.m. on the 
12th before the expiration of her twenty-four hours' 
grace, and if she can get clear of her pursuers it will be 
nothing less than she deserves. 

It was the Japanese army that shook this somewhat 
over-ripe fruit into the lap of Admiral Togo. Just as 
the stunning blow of the first attack on the Russian 
squadron was the direct effect of the masculine decision 
of the Japanese Government to take overt action, so in 
this penultimate act of the naval drama at Port Arthur 



YESSEN'S EXPLOITS 268 

the army plays a leading and distinguished part. No 
navy can have done better than that of Japan during 
this dogged watch of six months off the shores of the 
doomed fortress. Yet never at any time has it so much 
as scratched the walls of Port Arthur, and but for this 
indispensable weapon of national strategy, a sufficient 
and highly trained field army, the full fruits of naval 
victory would undoubtedly never have been gathered. 
Diplomacy, army, and navy thus stand out as merely 
artificial divisions of a single dominating purpose, and 
before this lesson, taught by the close, cordial, and 
effective co-operation of these three servants of the 
national will, all else sinks into comparative insignificance. 

Immediately following Admiral Togo's victory, his 
colleague Vice- Admiral Kamimura came to the term of 
his persistent run of ill-luck. 

With the earlier exploits of the Vladivostok 
squadron we have already dealt. This division suffered 
a serious loss in the middle of May, when the cruiser 
Bogatyr ran on a rock near Vladivostok and became 
a total loss. The three remaining cruisers, Rossia (flag), 
Gromoboi, and Rurik put to sea towards the end of 
June, and captured the British steamer CheltevJiam, 
carrying sleepers to Korea. They were pursued by 
Kamimura, but escaped under cover of darkness. The 
torpedo flotilla at Vladivostok made for Gensan at the 
same time, and destroyed a few small craft and lighters. 
On July 19 the cruisers again put to sea, being now 
under the command of Rear- Admiral Yessen. They 
passed the Tsugaru Straits and cruised off Yokohama 
from July 23 to 29 without being interfered with. 
During this foray they sank the British steamer Knight 
Commander and the German steamer Tlica, making the 
plea that these vessels were without coal sufficient to 
take them to a Russian port. They also captured the 
German steamer Arabia, and sank a Japanese coasting 
steamer and some junks. These exploits caused much 
disturbance in shipping circles, and are said to have 
affected the sailings of merchant transport amounting 



264 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

to 200,000 tons. The squadron returned to harbour on 
August 1- 

On August 10 the division once more set out under 
Yessen with the evident purpose of uniting Mdth the 
Port Arthur ships and of returning with them to 
Vladivostok. 

At dawn on August 14 the Grromoboiy Rossia^ and 
Rurikj coming from Vladivostok and steering south, 
arrived within forty-two miles of Fusan and thirty 
from the northern lighthouse of Tsushima. Admiral 
Kamimura, with the Idzumo (flag), To/dwa, Azuma, 
and Ixvate (flag of Rear- Admiral Misu), was patrolling 
the straits near Ulsan at the same moment, on a parallel 
course and six miles to the north. 

Immediately the presence of the Japanese was dis- 
covered the Russians put about and shaped a course for 
the open sea to the north-east at seventeen knots, repre- 
senting full speed. Kamimura at once turned in pursuit, 
and, thanks to superior speed, engaged the enemy at 
5 a.m., at sixty caoles' distance. Aunost immediately 
the Rurik signalled, " Rudder does not act," whereupon 
the Russian admiral replied, " Steer vrith your engines," 
and continued on his former course. The Rurik, how- 
ever, began to fall behind, and the Japanese, in T-shaped 
formation, concentrated their fire upon her. Her con- 
sorts now endeavoured to protect her and draw Kami- 
mura's fire upon themselves. Fire broke out upon all 
three Russian ships, and after a short time the Rurik 
was almost silenced and was down in the stem, 
with a slight list to port. The Gromoboi and Rossia 
now abandoned her and took a north-easterly course, 
while the Rurik endeavoured to escape towards the 
south-east. 

At 9.80 a.m. the Japanese fourth squadron, under 
Admiral Uriu, arrived opportunely on the scene, the 
Namwa and Takachiho engaging the Rurik, thus 
leaving Kamimura free to pursue the Groinoboi and 
Rossia. An unequal fight continued for several hours, 
but at length the two Russian ships succeeded in effect- 



FENSHUILING PASS 265 

ing their escape, very severely damaged, and with a loss 
of 185 kUled and 307 wounded. 

Admiral Kamimura returned from the chase because 
he considered the Naruwa and Takachiho no match for 
the Ruriky and was anxious as to the result of their 
attack. Nevertheless, these nineteen-year-old ships, 
with a total displacement of 7,850 tons, were now a 
match for the Rurik both in speed and other respects. 
They " enfiladed " her and did heavy execution, so that 
her fire ceased at noon, when the valves were opened and 
the ship gradually sank. 

On his return. Admiral Kamimura discovered that 
the ship was sinking, and succeeded in saving 600 lives. 
It was these men, thus saved, who sank the Hitachi 
Mara and then sailed away from a hundred of their 
drowning victims. Thus nobly were these victims 
avenged. 

The Japanese loss in this action was forty-six killed 
and sixty-eight wounded, the heaviest loss falling upon 
the Idzumo. 

Turning now to the operations of the field armies, 
it is known that by June 21 the deployment of the 
Japanese forces was completed, and that the three armies 
stood upon a line running north-east from Seunyucheng, 
south of Kaiping, on the left, through the Chapanling 
Pass, to a point southward of the Motien defile on the 
right The Passes of Fenshuiling, Taling, and the 
Motien, defended by strong garrisons, destined to serve 
as a screen behind which Kuropatkin's main army could 
manoeuvre in safety, all fell between June 26 and 80 ; 
the superiority of the Japanese in mountain warfare was 
established, and the entry to the Liau V^alley secured. 

Of these engagements Fenshuiling stands out as 
a good example of the tactics of the two armies in 
mountain warfare, and is therefore worthy of the 
attention of British officers. 

The defence of this position had occupied the 
Russians for three months. Strong semi-permanent 



266 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

forts, with extensive hutting for troops, had been 
prepared ; covered ways connected the several positions, 
whue every sort of obstacles — pits, wire entanglements, 
and stockades — had been accumulated in front. There 
were fourteen battalions holding the position, besides 
three regiments of Cossacks and thirty guns, and no 
direct assault could hope to succeed without heavy 
sacrifice. 

After a reconnaissance of the position. General 
Nodzu distributed his 10th Division and auxiliary troops 
in three columns, extending over a front of twenty 
miles. On June 26 the columns under Major-General 
Asada and Colonel Kamada moved against the eastern 
and western heights of the defile respectively ; Ma^or- 
General Marui marched against the right of the position, 
while an auxiliary column under Major-General Togo 
was directed against Hsiahata, where there stood a 
detached body of the enemy consisting of three battalions 
and eight guns. 

The auxiliary column fought all the day of the 26th, 
and finally captured Hsiahata before dawn on the 27th. 
Major-General Marui co-operated in this attack with 
his left ; the rest of his troops, advancing westward, 
drove away two Russian battalions, and established 
themselves on the right rear of the Fenshuiling position. 
The Asada and Kamada columns gained the slopes of 
the front of the position, while these batteries opened 
fire between 5 and 7 a.m. on June 27. Finding himself 
unable to make progress to the front. General Asada 
detached a regiment to his extreme right, and this 
double turning movement disheartened the Russians, 
who ceased fire at 7.50 a.m. and began a general retreat 
at 8 a.m. Thereupon Asada's engineers cleared away 
the obstacles, and the troops reached the summit of 
the eastern heights of the defile at 11 a.m. Here they 
brought guns into action against the retreating enemy, 
who, after destroying his stores, withdrew to Tomu- 
cheng with a loss of some 600 men. An attempt to 
recapture the position in the afternoon completely 



MOTIEN PASS 267 

failed, and the defenders were finally driven off at 
7.30 p.m. 

Concerning the captures of the Motien and Ta Passes 
by General Kuroki s troops, official reports are wanting ; 
but with respect to the famous Motien Pass, it would 
appear that General Kuroki, by a succession of marches, 
counter-marches, and feigned retreats, completely de- 
ceived his enemy, and not only turned the pass, but 
won it without any serious loss, the attention of the 
defenders having been distracted by feints. 

On July 6 Marshal Oyama lefl Tokio for the front, 
and upon the same day the advance of the armies was 
resumed. Kaiping was occupied on the 9th by the 
Second Army, and all design of a counter-offensive by 
the Russians prevented by the parallel march of the 
Fourth, or Takushan, Army on its right driving back 
ZarubaiefTs Siberians. 

Everything pointed to a general action at Tashih- 
chiao, which had been strongly fortified and was defended 
by 48 battalions, 50 squadrons, and 105 guns, in all over 
60,000 men. 

But before Kuropatkin accepted battle at Tashih- 
chiao it was necessary for him to be assured that 
Kuroki was planning no mischief at the Motienling. 
The Russian information on this subject was inadequate, 
and also contradictory, and it was therefore decided to 
send General Count Keller with the equivalent of two 
Russian divisions, made up from the 3rd, 6th, and 9th 
East Siberian Rifle Divisions, to test the strength of the 
Japanese. Count Keller was instructed ^ not to start with 
the object of capturing the pass, but to act according to 
the strength of the forces he found opposed to him. 

The left column of 14 battalions and 12 guns, under 
Major-General Kashtalinsky, was directed upon the 
Hsiakaoling Pass and Wufengkwan ; the right, of one 
batUilion, upon Hsinkialing to cover the right, while the 
reserve was posted eastward of Tawan. 

^Vt 11 p.m. on July 16 the leading Russian battalion 

* Kuropatkiirs telegram of July 17. 



268 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

dislodged a Japanese outpost from Makumenza and 
gave the alarm. The Japanese force holding the 
position consisted of a single brigade, the 15th of the 
2nd Division, under Major-General Okazaki, and upon 
the first notice of dan^r these troops were assembled 
at the appointed positions, the artillery occupying the 
heights north-west of Wufengkwan. At dawn the 
Russians occupied Hsiakaoling and a height to the south, 
pressing back the Japanese outposts to the main positions. 
Soon after 5 a.m, on July 17 Kashtalinsky endeavoured 
to occupy the Wufengkwan position and the bluffs to 
the south, sending forward first one and then three 
battalions ; but the attempt failed, notwithstanding the 
support of a horsed mountain battery, as the Russian 
field guns were unable to come into action owing to 
the nature of the ground. 

While this fight was in progress the Japanese out- 
post at Makumenza, which had been driven in, was 
reinforced, and held its ground against three Russian 
battalions opposing it. A Japanese detachment two 
miles east of Hsiakaoling was also attacked by a 
Russian regiment, but held firm. Immediately to the 
north of Hsiamatang a Russian battalion and a squadron 
attacked a single Japanese company on outpost, and a 
fiirious fight ensued, all the Japanese officers being 
killed or wounded. At Hsuchiaputsz two Russian 
battalions and a troop of cavalry also attacked another 
Japanese post. Thus between 8 and 9 a.m. the whole 
of the Japanese line was assailed on a broad front by 
greatly superior numbers. 

The Japanese front had been lightly held, but the 
Russians were unable to profit by their numerical 
superiority, and now the Japanese reinforcements began 
to reach the threatened points. General Count Keller, 
who directed the fight from the Russian centre, was 
compelled to employ part of his reserves to strengthen 
the first line, but his positions were untenable, and at 
10.80 a.m. he decided to withdraw, "as the strength of 
the enemy was so great compared with ours." The 



TASHIHCHIAO 269 

Japanese line, reinforced at all points, started in pursuit. 
The main Russian force retreated towards Tawan and 
Tenshuitien in excellent order. Some battalions halted 
near Kinkiapaotsz, and here four Russian guns came 
into action, and the Japanese pursuit ceased at the 
western end of the village. The outpost at Makumenza 
fired heavily upon the retreating Russians in its front ; 
the Hsiakaoling post joined in the pursuit, while the 
hard-pressed Hsiamatang outpost, on receiving help, 
drove the Russians northward at 4.50 p.m. Earlier in 
the day the Russians who had assailed the Hsuchiaputsz 
outpost also retired to the north-west. The Japanese 
loss in this fight was 299 of all ranks, while Count Keller 
reported that his losses exceeded 1,000. 

During the 17th and 18th Kuroki followed up this 
success by turning the Russians out of Hsihoyen with 
his 12th Division, encountering for the first time the 
Western troops of the 10th Army Corps, who fared no 
better than the East Siberians, despite the fact that 
regiments which had won fame at the Shipka Pass were 
employed. Kuroki, however, was not Suleiman, and 
that made all the difference in the world. The 
Japanese losses in this action were 522, and that of the 
Russians about double that number. 

By this time the greater part of the 10th and 17th 
Army Corps had reached Kuropatkin, who was planning 
a fresh onslaught upon the First Army, when, suddenly, 
the Second and Fourth Armies broke camp and surged 
up from the south. 

ZarubaiefF's position at Tashihchiao was a strong 
one. It extended along the range of heights from 
Ninsinshan to Tapingling ; the field of fire to the front 
was wide, and throughout the line entrenchments had 
been prepared in several lines, with loopholes and over- 
head cover, while abatis, ^\^re entanglements, and mines 
presented serious obstacles to an assailant. It was, 
however, open to attack from the mountain country to 
the eastward, and the fall of Fenshuiling had laid bare 
the position on this side. 



270 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

General Oku deployed in front of this fonnidable 
position on July 24, and endeavoured, without much 
success, to find positions for his guns, which were out- 
ranged and outfought by the Russian artillery. The 
advance of the Japanese infantry, under these conditions, 
was difficult and slow. Little progress was made by 
nightfall, when the firing ceased. The commander on 
the Japanese right now determined to make a night 
attack, and at 10 p.m. his infantry rushed the trenches 
at Tapingling, and by 8 a.m. on the morning of 
July 25 occupied the whole of the Russian position on 
this side. The rest of the Japanese line conformed with 
this movement, Shansitou was occupied, and the Japanese 
artillery at Wolungkung opened fire at dawn. 

But the Japanese attack had struck but rear-guards, 
since Zarubaieff had begun to retreat overnight. This 
retirement was apparently caused by the receipt of a 
message from Kuropatkin warning his lieutenant that 
his right would be threatened from Yingkow and his left 
from the hills. " The position was abandoned," sa3rs 
General Sakharoff, " because the officer commanding 
did not deem it possible to accept battle the next 
morning while defending a position with a front of 
16 kilometres." The retreat provoked annoyance and 
discouragement among the troops, and when the 
Russian rear-guard passed through Tashihchiao at 
11 a.m., cannonaded by the enemy's artillery, a bad 
impression was caused. 

On the night of the 26th the Japanese occupied 
Yingkow, and obtained a valuable advanced base for 
their armies. 

On July 31 all three annies made a concerted ad- 
vance. The Second Army drove the Russian rear-guards 
into Haicheng. At Tomucheng, fifteen miles south- 
east of Haicheng, the Fourth Army encountered the 
5th Siberian and another division with seven batteries, 
all troops not previously engaged, and defeated them 
with a loss to the Russians of 700 killed and six guns 
abandoned. 



TWO DAYS OF FIGHTING 271 

This second victory of General Nodzu s Fourth, or 
so-called Takushan Army, was won under circumstances 
of some difficulty. General AlexeiefF, commanding the 
Russian force, had constructed strong defensive works 
from Hungyaoling on his left through Changsanku 
to Sanchiaoshan and the heights to the east of it On 
July 30 the Japanese troops were deployed on the hills 
south of Kincniaoputsz and Tomucheng, and at dawn 
on July 81 an attack began on the Russians eastward 
of Sanchiaoshan, while the Japanese left assailed the 
defenders of the hills north of Yangshuho (East and 
West). By 8 a.m. a lodgment was made on a height 
north-east of East Yangshuho. Near the road to 
Haicheng the Russians were in force, with twenty-one 
guns in position, and when, at 10.80 a.m., the Japanese 
gained the heights they were unable to make headway 
against the heavy fire from Changsanku. 

The Russians now moved forward to make a counter- 
attack, but were driven back with heavy loss, and the 
opponents bivouacked in this part of the field within 
rifle shot, neither side being able to advance. Later in 
the evening the success of the Japanese left caused the 
whole Russian line to fall back upon Haicheng. 

The First Army, taking time by the forelock, also 
assailed the Russians in their front before the projected 
offensive of the enemy on this side was under way. On 
July 81 and August 1 the right of the First Army at 
Yushulintz, south of the Taitse River, and the centre 
at Yangtzuling, west of the Motien Pass, attacked the 
Russians, and after two days of bitter and hotly con- 
tested fighting under a blazing sun, and notwithstanding 
great difficulties of ground, drove them out of their 
positions. 

Kuroki's action was compulsory on account of the 
increase of the Russian numbers in his front and the 
threatening character of their operations. He therefore 
set his army in motion on the night of July 30, with 
the intention of striking before his enemy's preparations 
were completed. 



272 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

At dawn on July 81 the right column, or 12th 
Division, attacked the Russians at Yushulintz, while 
the left, or 2nd Division, attacked Yangtzuling, sending 
a detachment to co-operate with the right column. At 
Yushulintz there were the 81st and 85th Russian 
Divisions, a brigade of the 9th Di\dsion,. and four 
batteries ; at Yangtzuling the 8rd and 6th Divisions, 
a brigade of the 9th, and four batteries. The steep hills 
and deep valleys offered serious obstacles to the Japanese, 
while the Russians had made skilfiil use of the ground 
and had fortified all important points with trenches and 
closed works. 

The right column first placed three battalions of 
infantry about Laomuling in order to prevent danger 
from the side of Penhsihu ; the rest of the troops moved 
out to attack in two columns. At dawn the right wing 
attacked the enemy's front and left flank, occupying a 
height 2,000 yards from his main position, which was on 
the western slopes of the Yushulintz heights. After 
furious fighting the position was occupied by 8.50 a.m., 
and here the Japanese right wing awaited the operations 
of its co-operating troops, while repulsing several counter- 
attacks. 

The left wing of the right column found the Russians 
in position at Pienling, and at 6.85 a.m. drove in the 
enemy after heavy fighting. The Hsiamatang detach- 
ment from the left column attacked and defeated at 
8 a.m. a Russian battalion at Taiyobarai. Pressing on, 
this detachment found itself on the flank of three 
Russian regiments with four guns retiring from Pienling, 
and at once poured a hot fire into them at ranges of 200 
to 1,000 yards, putting them to flight with heavy loss. 

The centre of the Russian position on the heights 
south of Yushulintz appears to have held firm during 
the day of July 81, and endeavours made to turn its right 
failed owing to difficulties of ground. At dawn on 
August 1 this part of the Russian forces was also with- 
drawn ; the Japanese right wing then pressed on and 
occupied Laoling by 9.40 a.m. ; the left wing observed 



KELLER'S DEATH 278 

t 

the retreat, but was unable to interfere with it owing to 
topographical difficulties ; the Hsiamatang detachment 
drove the enemy from a height south of Lapu, and 
occupied the heights to the west of it by 1 p.m. 

Meanwhile the 2nd Division had been engaged with 
Keller's force at Yangtzuling. Advancing by night the 
right wing had driven in the enemy's advanced posts 
and had occupied the heights east of Tawan by 3 a.m, 
on July 81. All the other troops reached the positions 
assigned to them except the artillery, which, owing to 
the rugged nature of the ground, was only able to place 
two batteries in position at dawn ; it was not before 
11 a.m. that the remainder of the guns were man-handled 
into action. 

The left wing of the 2nd Division advanced upon 
Makumenza, while a detachment moved off to turn the 
enemy's right. The dominating position of the Russian 
guns, and the difficulties under which the Japanese 
artillery laboured, prevented effective employment of 
the troops, and the frontal attack made very slow pro- 
gress. In the afternoon, towards 4 p.m., the infantry 
on the right and left made headway, but no assault 
could be delivered, and the troops bivouacked in position 
as they stood. At dawn on August 1 both right and 
left wings renewed their attacks and finally occupied all 
the heights between 7 and 8 a.m. 

In these arduous operations the Japanese First Army 
lost 946 killed and wounded. The Russian loss was 
estimated at 2,000 men ; 2 Russian guns were captured, 
besides 500 rifles and 157 prisoners. The commander 
of the Russian forces. General Count Keller, died a 
soldier's death ; he was struck by the burst of aj 
shrapnel at 3 p.m. on July 31, and fell covered with 
many wounds. 

The official accounts of these two important actions 
disclosed the fact that the First Army had met and 
defeated the whole of the 10th Army Corps, half the 
17th Army Corps, besides two divisions of East Siberian 
troops. Thus, on August 1 not a single unit remained 

18 



274 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

to Kuropatkin that had not been involved in serious 
defeat. 

These disasters necessarily entailed a Russian concen- 
tration at Liauyang, where Kuropatkin managed to 
collect his army on August 3 ; and on the same day 
General Oku occupied Haicheng and Niuchwang un- 
opposed, throwing forward his outposts during succeeding 
days some ten miles to the north. 

The separation of Kuropatkin's forces, and the 
successive defeats and retreats of its detachments which 
naturally followed, greatly diminished the military value 
of the Army of Manchuria. 

Kuropatkin might have united his forces at Liau- 
yang as soon as the state of the weather allowed after 
the loss of his positions in the mountains on June 27, 
their strength undiminished and their spirit unimpaired. 
Blind to the dictates of prudence and common sense, 
he engaged in discursive and indiscriminate fighting 
over a wide front, and in all these actions not a ray of 
military instinct or inspiration, or any dominant or 
presiding idea, emerged to illumine the scene of gloonL 
If, owing to the modest pretensions of Japanese strategy 
at this stage, and the apparent belief that the Chinese 
precedent would be contmued by the Russians to the 
end of the chapter, Kuropatkin was shepherded and 
driven into concentration at last, it was against his 
will, and with the loss of some 6,000 men and several 
guns. Constant retreats and the abandonment of 
strongly intrenched positions after half-hearted resistance 
do not encourage armies, nor are they, as a rule, the 
prelude to victory. There is such a thing as the 
tradition of defeat, and unenviable is the army that 
creates it. 

Since the land campaign opened the Japanese army 
has lost 12,000 killed and wounded ; four men have 
been wounded for every man killed. The Russian 
losses have not been honestly admitted, and we are 
forced to calculate them on the basis of Russian 
dead buried by the Japanese, allowing for wounded 



A WARNING NOTE 275 

rather under the above proportion. In fifteen engage- 
ments, large and small, which have occurred since the 
opening of the war — all of them Russian defeats — the 
calculation works out to a Russian loss of 82,500 killed 
and wounded, besides 118 light siege and field and 18 
machine-guns captured by the enemy. Excluding the 
Port Arthur garrison, we have to deduct 28,000 men 
as the casualties of the army under Kuropatkin's direct 
and personal command. It is not our business to 
disclose the Japanese numbers, even if we know them, 
and we need only note the figure given by the Opera- 
tions Bureau of the Russian War Office — namely, 
220,000 men and 600 guns for the field armies, and 
100,000 men besieging Port Arthur. If this be correct, 
as we need neither affirm nor deny, it would be interesting 
to learn how General Sakharoff, Minister of War, has 
explained to his Imperial master the belief he expressed 
in March last, that the Japanese could only place 200,000 
men in the field at the outside, and that the reserve 
troops included in this figure were without value. The 
recent fighting of all three Japanese armies has, how- 
ever, brought out one point upon which we have had 
occasion to sound a warning note both before the war 
and during the flood tide of Japanese victories — namely, 
the superiority of the Russian quick-firing field gun in 
range, weight, and rapidity of fire. It is not improbable 
that the Japanese may desire to bring up their howitzers, 
in full strength, before confronting a general action, and 
they will be wise to do so. 

As to whether Kuropatkin will fight at Liauyang 
or retire, the evidence is too contradictory to authorise 
an expression of opinion. Oyama, we can be sure, is 
well informed, since the situation of his armies now 
allows the reports of his spies to come through regularly 
by many channels not previously open. So long as the 
Japanese armies stand fast we have the best proof open 
to us that the Russian army means to fight. 

The Chinese — a simple folk — are telling the Russians 
that Japanese regiments are leaving for Port Arthur, 



276 EVENTS FROM JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 10 

and the report seems to be believed. That, of course, 
is possible, and so is the transfer of two Japanese 
divisions from Port Arthur to Haicheng, on loan for 
a battle. But any one who believes that Japanese 
troops of the field armies, now in touch with the enemy 
throughout their front, are hurrying away to conclude 
a siege where there is no immediate occasion for haste, 
on the eve of a decisive battle at laauyang, which may 
decide the fate of East Asia and change the face of the 
world, is in a condition of mind to believe anything. 



CHAPTER XXVI ^ 

THE SITUATION IN MID AUGUST 

We have at last reached the crisis of the great cam- 
paign in Manchuria, and decisive operations are im- 
pending. 

The generally favourable situation of the armed 
forces of Japan after six months of war, and the almost 
universal sympathy displayed for her cause in the 
Anglo-Saxon world, neea not blind us to the fact that 
the task before her is still sufficiently arduous, even if 
we look no further for the moment than this first 
campaign. 

A powerful if battered section of the Pacific 
squadron still remains an uncertain menace to the 
Japanese navy ; the two best cruisers of the Vladivostok 
division have been most unaccountably permitted to 
escape ; in neutral ports there are other warships in a 
situation not entirely determinate ; there is the fi-esh 
annoyance of these new AlabamdSy made in Germany, 
that have taken post off the Straits of Gibraltar, while 
behind them, for what it is worth, is the Baltic fleet. 
Port Arthur, with all its outworks lost, still flings 
defiance at the besieging army, and the hardest part of 
the attack has still to come — namely, the subjugation 
by fire of the artillery in the main line of works, 
followed by the assault. Lastly, the field army under 
General Kuropatkin, though badly beaten upon many 

* Compiled from articles in The Times of July 20 and 30, August 22 and 
29, and September 1, 1904. 

277 



278 THE SITUATION IN MID-AUGUST 

a stricken field, is concentrated at last and apparently 
strong in numbers and in a humour to stand and fight 
to a finish. 

These three great tasks of the Mikado's forces may 
suitably be considered one by one so that the resulting 
situation may be broadly reviewed. 

All the Russian ships that left Port Arthur on 
August 10 are now satisfactorily accounted for. The 
result of the sortie was to deprive the Pacific squadron 
of the services of one first-class battleship, three 
cruisers, and five destroyers or torpedo boats, and to 
leave Rear- Admiral Prince Ukhtomsky with only five 
battleships, the injured Bayan, and the cruiser PalUida. 
Three destroyers also returned to port. The loss of 
the gunboat Otvajru on August 18, the disablement 
of the battleship Sevastopol on August 28, and the 
sinking of another destroyer on August 24, further 
reduced the strength of the Russian naval force. All 
these latter disasters were caused by mines, with which 
the approaches to the harbour have been thickly strewn. 

Aomiral Togo, it will be recalled, considered that 
five out of the six Russian battleships that faced him 
on August 10 were severely injured. The Sevastopol 
may have been the ship that suffered least She is 
now apparently even in a worse plight than the rest, 
since, after striking the mine on August 28, she was 
towed home with a heavy list to starboard and with 
her bows awash. Prince Ukhtomsky states in his 
undated report from Port Arthur that his ships are 
being repaired. In his own ship, the Peresxnety he says 
that the armament, hull, and electric machinery were 
seriously damaged. 

The activity of the Russian counter-mining flotilla 
is taken at Tokio to presage another attempt to escape. 
This may be the case, since the Tsar's order that no 
ships were to return to Port Arthur seems to have 
been peremptory, and was brought to the particular 
notice of the squadron in Vithoft's last signal. In 
view of all the circumstances, however, any successful 



THE BALTIC ARMADA 279 

combat, or even evasion, must now be reckoned as most 
improbable. 

Meanwhile the Baltic armada is supposed to have 
put to sea for a cruise, and the progress of the squadron 
eastward, should it become a fact, will arouse keen 
interest in all parts of the world. 

The precise composition of this armada is not yet 
announced, but some little time ago a Russian naval 
engineer, writing in a Kronstadt paper, assumed, perhaps 
for the sake of argument, that it would include six 
battleships and six cruisers. He declared that the Suez 
Canal was the only possible route, and that the voyage 
would take 68 days, stoppages included. The 12 
warships would, he estimated, require 62,328 tons of 
coal during the voyage, or, after deducting the fuel in 
the bunkers at starting, 51,588 tons to be provided 
by colliers. If coaling at sea became necessary, he 
thought that a further delay would occur, bringing up 
the length of the voyage to 84 days. The Echo ac 
Paris tells us that the Cape route has been selected, 
and in this case the behaviour of the armada on the 
stage between Las Palmas and Zanzibar will arouse 
considerable interest. 

It is certainly prudent of Russia to have provided 
her colliers in advance, and to have mastered the 
difficult art of coaling at sea, for the aid she will 
receive from British coaling stations will necessarily be 
small. A recent proclamation of the Governor of 
Malta will perhaps make clear to Russia that we have 
no intention whatever of permitting our harbours to 
be used for the purpose of belligerent operations, 
whether by squadrons, single warships, or colliers. 
They will " not be permitted to make use of any port, 
roadstead, or waters subject to the jurisdiction of His 
Majesty for the purpose of coaling, either directly from 
the shore, or from colliers accompanying such fleet." 

To the policy expressed in this proclamation, Russia, 
with her great concern for the infraction of neutral 
rights at Chifu, and with her declaration of coal as 



280 THE SITUATION IN MIDAUGUST 

unconditional contraband, is naturally the last Power 
in the world with any right to take exception. 

In addition to this armada there have sailed from 
Russian ports a number of commerce-raiders, and the 
preparations made for the cruise of these latter vessels 
particularly deserve our close attention. The proceed- 
mgs of the Peterburg and Smolensk stand in a category 
apart. These vessels passed the Bosporus between 
July 4 and 6 ; they seized the P. andf O. steamship 
Malacca on July 18, and on July 20 the immediate 
release of this ship was demanded. 

The news that the Malacca was returning through 
the Suez Canal with a Russian prize crew on board and 
under the Russian naval flag was calculated to place 
the temper of the British public under a somewhat 
seviere strain. The reply of the Russian CJovemment 
to the German protest against the seizure of the mails 
on the Prinz rleinrich amounted to a bland confession 
of ignorance, while of regret or disavowal there was 
not a word. If Russian naval commanders during a 
maritime war intend to frame their own International 
codes of laws, and act upon them as they choose, while 
their government professes not even so much as mild 
surprise, it devolves upon the interests injured to protect 
themselves. 

But can we really believe that there is such an 
absolute paralysis of law and order at St. Petersburg, 
and that these vessels, so recently despatched from 
Russian ports, are not acting upon definite instructions ? 
There is certainly a privia facie case for believing that 
the Russians, who are not tyros in these matters, and are 
thoroughly aware of the unassailable position we hold, 
must have entirely realised all the consequences of their 
acts. 

We do not wish to take advantage of Russia's mis- 
fortunes, and still less to do anything to lessen the 
traditional rights of belligerents during a maritime war, 
but est modus in rebus, and if the " ban of Europe," 
of which Sir William Vernon Harcourt once spoke, is 



COMMERCERAIDING 281 

insufficient to compel the strict observance of treaties, 
then some other and more effective means must be 
substituted. 

Whilst there is every reason to hope that the Russian 
Government will make full and prompt reparation for 
the seizure of the Malacca ana other British ships 
unlawfully arrested or detained in the Red Sea, as well 
as for so outrageous an incident as the sinking of the 
Knight Commander^ it is well to remember that other, 
and still more serious, because much more intricate, 
problems still await solution in relation to Russia's 
pretensions on the subject of contraband, and also 
concerning the dubious legality and more than dubious 
justice of the decisions of Russian Prize Courts. 

If Russia carries her claims in these matters to their 
logical consequence, the only possible result will be the 
dislocation of the shipping trade of the world, and 
within the confines of an oceanic empire the free course 
of mercantile transactions is the first interest of all. 
The decision of a Russian Prize Court cannot in any 
way add to or subtract from the rights of neutrals, 
and, should appeals go against the British owners, it 
will be indispensable that the whole of the proceedings 
shall be reviewed by diplomatic means and deliberate 
conclusions formulated. If Russian statesmen have 
been aroused to the sense of the dangerous course of 
action upon which their seamen have embarked, they 
will be wise to modify their programme. They have, 
or shortly will have, a considerable number of vessels 
afloat obviously designed for no other purpose than 
the war against commerce. 

There are limits to the strain which patience can 
endure should the activities of these vessels lead to 
unreasonable disturbance of sea-going trade, and if the 
Grand Duke Alexis and his advisers desire to escape a 
serious calamity they will do well to consult M. de 
Martens and to revise the instructions issued to the 
commanders of the commerce-raiders. History shows 
that pretensions tending to embarrass and annoy the 



282 THE SITUATION IN MID-AUGUST 

trade of neutrals are inevitably limited, when pushed to 
extremes, by the power of the belligerent to enforce 
them. In Russia's case there is no such power, and the 
measure of her depredations must be the limits of 
patience of the neutral Powers whose trade is practically 
the only sufferer from these acts. As reasonable men, 
the authors of this new progamme are also entitled to 
ask themselves what they expect to gain at the cost of 
incurring the ill-will of the world. Has any single 
advantage been gained for Russia by the war against 
neutral commerce ? Has it arrested the course of 
Japanese armies or impeded the action of Japanese 
fleets? Has it, in short, done anything save run up a 
heavy bill of damages which Russia will have to pay ? 

It is contended (August 29) that the Russian ships 
are still without the orders issued in conformity with 
the assurances given to Great Britain. The procedure 
of communicatmg these orders by the intermediary of 
British cruisers may have become imperative, but is 
certainly unpleasant ; and we must hope that steps have 
been taken to place the authoritative character of this 
unusual intervention beyond all possible danger of 
misunderstanding, whether by the communication of 
the orders in Russian cipher or by such other means 
as may have commended themselves. Our Russian 
friends will not fail to notice that our naval preparations 
bear no relation to any state of crisis, still less of war. 
There was no cruiser at Port Said when the Malacca 
sailed west under the Russian flag ; there were no ships 
to protect our interests in the Red Sea ; there was no 
observation, such as common prudence seemed to 
demand, of the course taken by the Peterburg and 
Smolensk when they left the scene of their little illicit 
depredations ; and there were no cruisers ready for 
service at the Cape, save the old slow and small 
Barrosa, when the Smolensk suddenly appeared out of 
space and stopped the steamship Comedian eighty miles 
from East London and ten miles from shore. A more 
touching and convincing proof of our profound behef 



SLOW CRUISERS 283 

in the sincerity of Russian assurances we could hardly 
offer. 

If the wandering truants could be warned of the 
chase and would enter into the spirit of the game, they 
would lead their pursuers a merry dance, since they have 
the legs of them all. On the Cape station, or rather at 
the Cape itself, there are available only the Baivosa, 
a 16-knot third-class cruiser, and the 18-knot gunboat 
Partridffc. The chance of catching the 20-knot 
Smolensk with such slow craft, if she did not wish to 
be caught, would be small indeed. The Admiralty 
have informed us that there are other vessels engaged 
upon this curious quest — the Crescent^ FortCy and Pearly 
wnich left the Seychelles on August 26, and the 
St. George and Brilliant at St. Vincent, Cape Verd. 
The first-named group of ships was 8,000 miles from the 
scene of the Smolenslcs last exploit, near East London, 
while the St. George and her consort were more than 
4,000 miles away, and the commodore commanding 
on the South Atlantic station will hardly invade tlie 
extensive domain of the naval Commander-in-Chief at 
the Cape. What these cruisers would do if called 
upon to chase such ships as some of the German ocean 
greyhounds no one can tell. 

No doubt ours are peace arrangements, but wars 
come suddenly nowadays, and the greatest damage is 
generally effected during the first days of a war, when 
one side or the other is found unprepared. The damage 
that could be effected in a short time by the eight 
Russian auxiliary cruisers and nondescripts now at sea 
during the time we were completing our preparations 
to intercept them would probably be very great. If, 
in the present instance, all may be expected to pass off 
with the greatest cordiality on both sides — the Smolemh 
slowing down to allow the Partridge to catch her — it 
is difficult to see the precise national value attaching to 
slow and small cruisers, or what particular function 
they fulfil in naval strategy. Slow cruisers, like weak, 
under-gunned battleships, and armed men restricted to 



284 THE SITUATION IN MID-AUGUST 

service at home, are all in the category of what the 
French call pou-ssiere militaire. They cost money and 
are of no use.^ 

The pirates from the Black Sea aside, there are still 
other ships that require to be traced and to have their 
proceedings observed. Five steamers at least of the 
North-German Lloyd and Hamburg-American lines 
have been recently purchased by Russia from Germany 
and converted into auxiliary cruisers. They are the 
Ural {eX'Kaiserin Maria Theresa), and the FUrst 
Bismarck^ Belgia^ AiigiLSta Victoria, and Columbia. 
The Ural and one of her consorts, renamed the Don, 
took station to the west of the Straits of Gibraltar, 
and began a blockade at the western end of the Medi- 
terranean, stopping British steamers, and apparently 
British steamers exclusively. On August 18 tne Ural 
was at Vigo coaling, but the Don has not been recently 
reported. Three other converted German liners are 
said to be at Las Palmas, where they coaled from the 
German steamer Valesia on August 24 or 25. The 
Valesia, as our Cardiff correspondent informed us on 
Saturday, left Barry for Las Palmas on August 10 
with 2,600 tons of smokeless steam coal, and since that 
date German merchants have secured between 60,000 
and 80,000 tons more coal for the service of the 
Russian navy. A sixth auxiliary cruiser of the 
America packet type passed Korsor on August 24, 
and is doubtless intended for the same duty as her 
consorts. 

The Prime Minister has stated that, in the opinion 
of the law officers and the government, merchant ships 
may be sold by neutrals to any government, and that 
such government may turn those ships into cruisers if 
it likes. Whether this would hold good provided it 
could be proved that the destination of such ships was 
for warlike purposes, and that such destination was 
known to the seller at the time of the transaction, may 

^ Since this was written our naval policy and the distribution of the fleet 
have been profoundly altered^ and not before the change was needed. 



THE BATTLESHIP DOMINATES 285 

be open to serious doubt. The fact remains that this 
opinion has been expressed, and that it remains for 
Japan to take corresponding measures if she so desires. 

It is certainly to be hoped that the plain speaking 
by the British and American Ambassadors at St. 
Petersburg will have caused the commanders of the 
ex-German liners to be warned of our settled con- 
victions upon questions of contraband and of the sinking 
of neutral ships. In the present state of opinion, and 
after all that has passed, any further excesses must not 
come under the notice of Sir Charles Hardinge, the 
British Ambassador at SL Petersburg, for adjustment. 
In view of the fact that we have as yet absolutely no 
written assurance that Russia accepts our reading of 
international law in these matters, it will be necessary 
for the Admiralty so to dispose of our ships on various 
stations that we may no longer be found unprepared.^ 
No doubt we desire to safeguard the customary rights 
of beUigerents, but the Prime Minister appears to 
forget that in the past our object has mainly been to 
destroy the trade of our enemy, whereas now, whether 
as belligerent or neutral, our chief task is to protect 
our own. It is by no means the same thing, and it is 
useless to live in the past when the whole circumstances 
have so ^eatly changed. 

Details of the naval actions of August 10 and 14 
slowly trickle in, but it may not be for many weeks 
that full and correct information concerning these most 
important engagements is before us. Certain principal 
lessons appear, however, to emerge even from the 
necessarily incomplete accounts that have yet reached 
us. In the action of August 10 the battleship domi- 
nates the whole situation throughout. The nature of 
the contest during the past six months may have 
caused other classes of ships to have assumed greater 
apparent importance from tune to time, but the battle- 
ship has always given the law, even when it has not 
been actively engaged. All the mining and torpedo 

* 'lliis was DOt done, vide Chapter XXXV. 



286 THE SITUATION IN MID-AUGUST 

attacks, not less than the deeds of the commerce- 
raiders, have been directly due to the supremacy of 
the Japanese battleships, which has compelled the 
enemy to restrict himself to operations more properly 
belonging to the defense mobile of war harbours, or to 
resort to methods of evasion to prosecute subsidiary 
methods of attack. 

When, at last, the giants came out and gave battle, 
the other classes of warships resumed at once the very 
secondary place which they legitimately hold in fleet 
actions. The Russian cruisers fled and scattered ; the 
fastest escaped ; the eight destroyers kept out of harm's 
way and took no share in the action at all. The action 
of the second- and third-class Japanese cruisers appears 
to have been modest, and they failed to prevent the 
escape of three important hostile cruisers. Even the 
large torpedo flotilla with Admiral Togo would not 
appear to have effected anything serious against the 
five damaged battleships overtaken by darkness at a 
distance from port All that they claimed as their 
prey is the PaUada, and even that claim has not been 
substantiated.^ 

The onus of battle thus fell upon the great ships, 
and everything else afloat reverted to a very subsi- 
diary place. The Russians had six battleships to the 
Japanese five, and though the balance was redressed by 
the armoured cruisers, the fight began not too unequal. 
What gave Japan the victory ? In a word, training. 
Speed may have exercised some influence upon the 
decision, and leading, no doubt, much. But it was 
superior gunnery and rapid, accurate fire that decided 
the day. Those three 12-in. shells that struck the 
Tsarevitch within a few minutes of each other wrecked 
the Russian line of battle. The flagship was no longer 
under control, and, worst of all, the death of Admiral 
Vithoft deprived the line of guidance. The supremacy 
of the gun, and of the heaviest gun most of all, becomes 
overwhelmingly manifest. 

1 Hie PaUada returned to Port Arthur. 




Admiral Heihachiro Togo 



SUPREMACY OF THE GUN 287 

It is the same story in the action of August 14. 
The poor Rurik was shot to pieces, and her two consorts 
lost 442 killed and wounded ; they were badly damaged 
and set on fire several times. No one acquainted with 
the construction of the Rossia and Rurik can well have 
expected any other result. In both actions the Japanese 
ships suffered no serious harm, and their losses were 
slight compared with those of the enemy. No other 
weapon but the gun played any part in either action. 
The little Novik, meanwhile, has met with a worse 
fate than she deserved. Sighted on August 20 by that 
useful sleuth-hound the TsTishimaj she was attacked 
by that cruiser outside Korsakovsk in Sakhalin at 
4.80 p.m. and badly damaged ; she withdrew to the 
anchorage enveloped in white smoke. The Tsushima 
was also hit and had a bad list, and was compelled to 
send a wireless telegram to the Chitose for help. At 
daybreak on August 21 the Chitose arrived and found 
the Novik beached and her crew in the course of 
abandoning her. Thus all the ships which escaped afler 
the action of August 10 are now accounted for. 

Presumably the Tsarevitch and her three torpedo 
satellites are out of action at Tsingtau for the rest of 
the war. The recent visit of a Japanese admiral to the 
German governor may have made this point clear; it 
is not at all clear in the accounts that come from Tsing- 
tau, and an explicit official announcement of German 
intentions is desirable, the Kolnviche Zdtung notwith- 
standing. At Shanghai we must assume, despite the 
somewhat alarmist telegrams from that port, that after 
the customary delays of the Mandarins the Askold 
and her attendant destroyer will share the fate of the 
Mandjur} No sufficient justification of the cutting- 
out of the Reshitelni at Chifti has yet been forthcoming, 
and the action is certainly to be regretted. Two wrongs 
do not make a right, and the scant regard for the 
rights and interests of neutral Powers displayed by 

' The Mandjur, a Russian gunboat^ was at Shanghai when war broke out ; 
after a long delay she w^ disarmed and interned. 



288 THE SITUATION IN MID-AUGUST 

Russia throughout the war should not have induced 
Japan to depart from the admirable policy of moderation 
and prudence that has hitherto shed additional lustre 
upon her success in arms. 

During the night preceding the naval action in the 
Yellow Sea the Japanese captured two important 
positions opposite the eastern front of Port Arthur — 
namely, Talcushan and Siaokushan. The former stands 
at an elevation of 645 feet, and is exactly a mile from 
the main line of Russian forts and three miles from the 
dock in the inner harbour. Siao or Shahkushan lies 
about a mile further south ; it is 450 feet high, and its 
western crest is only 1,800 yards from the Russian 
forts, and 4,400 yards from the dock. The line of 
hills upon which stand the Russian forts, facing these 
captured positions, averages from 500 to 550 feet in 
height, though two dominating peaks in rear are re- 
spectively 626 and 650 feet high. 

If Wolf Hill is still in Japanese hands and the 
sicffe works there have been rapidly extended to right 
and left, the grasp of General Nogi upon the north 
and east fronts of the fortress will have become very 
close, and the whole of the Russian defences, together 
with the town, dockyard, and inner anchorage, will be 
within mediuni and very effective range of Japanese guns. 

The situation of the five battleships and smaller 
craft left at Port Arthur is thus critical, for we know 
that the earlier Japanese bombardment between August 
7 and 9 was the determining cause of the naval sortie, 
and that the captain of the Retxnsan was wounded by 
this fire. The darker will now be increased, and the 
situation of Prince U khtomsky is far from enviable. If 
it be true that the Tsar ordered the squadron not to 
return to Port Arthur, the Russian rear-admiral is 
bound to make another attempt to escape if he can, 
with any ships that can put to sea. Judging by the 
damage done to other Russian vessels during the action, 
it is probable that some, at least, of Ukhtomsky's ships 
are in poor condition to engage. The Retxnsan^ pluckily 



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STOSSELS RESOLVE 289 

fought on August 10, was, we know, very severely 
mauled at close quarters, while the Pobieda lost both 
fighting-tops, and the Japanese admiral considered 
that five Russian battleships had been severely injured. 
Admiral Togo was in a good position to express an 
opinion, since his flagship steamed within short range, 
and, judging by the losses, appears to have monopolised 
the cream of the fighting. 

If, therefore, Ukhtomsky is not in a position to 
fight, the alternatives he has to select from are three 
in number. He may anchor under Golden Hill, in the 
outer roadstead, where there is probably some temporary 
security fi-om the fire of the land batteries but danger 
from torpedoes ; or he may stand the racket of the fire 
in the inner harbour and take his chance ; or he may 
land his men, and such guns as can be moved, to share 
in the fortunes of the siege, preparing his ships for the 
last sacrifice when the end is no longer doubtful. 

The Japanese summoned General Stossel to 
surrender on August 16, giving him 24 hours for 
reply. It is probable that the Russian losses have 
been heavy. There must be 1,500 wounded from the 
Nanshan fight at a low computation, since 704 bodies 
were buried by the Japanese. There were 1,540 killed 
and wounded between July 27 and 29, and 1,927 between 
August 8 and 10 ; some 500 other casualties in two 
minor engagements have also been reported by General 
Stossel. Including the inevitable losses which occur 
day by day in a besieged place, we can assume that 
there are not less than 6,000 wounded in the hospitals. 
Allowing for sick, there may not be more than 20,000 
effectives of the land army at this moment. Neverthe- 
less, StosseFs reply was never in doubt. Months ago 
he assured the garrison that he would never give the 
order to surrender, and it is his bounden duty to stand 
at least one assault upon his main line of resistance. 
In this soldierly resolve he and his gallant troops 
will be strengthened by the Tsar's gracious message of 
thanks and encouragement. 

19 



290 THE SITUATION IN MID-AUGUST 

Concerning the proceedings of the Japanese since 
the capture of Takushan we have no definite informa- 
tion, but report states that the Japanese lines are 
now closing m from the west, when the circle of fire 
will be complete. The Russian front of defence is now 
some fourteen miles in extent on the land side, and 
though the works are formidable they can be crushed 
by the concentrated fire of modem siege guns. An 
assault, when it takes place, will only have to deal with 
the troops of the sector assailed, strengthened by the 
general reserve if the point of assault has been correctly 
ascertained in advance. The Japanese have, no doubt, 
lost heavily, but there is no immediate necessity for 
haste, and we can feel assured that the permanent 
works will be reduced to ruins and their main armament 
silenced before the assaulting columns are paraded in 
their bivouacs. 

When the members of the Aulic Council at St. 
Petersburg who misdirect the war meet old Dragomiroff, 
they are likely to hear something to their disadvantage. 
Was he right, or were they ? It is altogether a strange 
situation. Port Arthur was selected as the centre of 
Russian naval power in the Pacific; thither proudly 
sailed the Russian ships in 1898, and thence, less proudly, 
sailed away our own. So far so good, for Russia had 
not then encountered a will equal to her own. Ships 
need docks, workshops, repairing yards, an arsenal — 
and all these Russia began to provide, reconstructing 
the town at enormous cost. But docks and arsenals 
must be defended, according to the rules of text-books 
of engineering, and forthwith all these grand perma- 
nent defences, constituting, as the Novoe Vremya has 
declared, the " most impregnable of all first-class 
fortresses," sprang up on all the surrounding hills. At 
vast expense these were built and armed ; even the 
fortresses of Poland contributed the best of their 
armament. When Kuropatkin arrived on the scene 
these forts entailed a garrison, and he was compelled 
to weaken his field army by nearly 80,000 men. 



STRATEGY A LA RUSSE 291 

depriving himself of the power to attack his enemy 
in the field. 

But, at least, Port Arthur was safe ? It was nothing 
of the kind, and before the capital element of the 
defence — resistance on the main line of permanent 
defences — had so much as come into play, the naval 
squadron was driven out. There is evidently a miscon- 
ception somewhere. Port Arthur is still unsubdued ; 
the arsenal is still there ; the forts hold firm ; yet the 
Pacific squadron, for whose sake all this blood and 
treasure and effort have been expended, leaves the army 
in the lurch and steams away with the Tsar's order to 
go where it likes or can, to scatter and seek sanctuary 
in Chinese, German, or British ports — anywhere, in 
short, so long as it does not return to Port Arthur. 

That is all very well, the garrison may reply, but 
where do we come in, and what are we for? This 
remnant of 30,000 men, numbers which might have 
turned defeat in the field into victory, remain separated 
— according to Russian figures accepted by Colonel 
Gadke — by 320,000 Japanese from Kuropatkin and 
mother Russia. The sole remaining task is to fight for 
the honour of the flag and to prove to the world that 
Russians are inimitable troops for the defence of forti- 
fied positions, a fact which we most of us knew before. 
They are nothing but a large detachment cut off by order 
of the Aulic Council from the main army, and bound 
— pronded the fervent prayer of the Tsar be not heard — 
to be beaten in detail without any human probability 
of any other result. That is grand strategy a la Riisse, 
and it should only be taught in British schools under 
the head of things to avoid. Never yet have fortified 
positions, not even the most impregnable of first-class 
fortresses, with whole army corps to defend them, 
made up in a maritime war for deficiency in power 
afloat. 

Now if we turn to the third and last task imme- 
diately confronting the Mikado's armies, we see that 
the Yamagata opening of the double objective still 



292 THE SITUATION IN MID- AUGUST 

leaves the Russians, and not the Russians alone, with 
very unsettled convictions respecting the purpose of 
their enemy. No doubt it would have been preferable 
that Port Arthur should have fallen sooner, so that 
all available troops might have been united against the 
Russian field army at an earlier stage. No doubt, again, 
that it will be some disadvantage for Japan if she 
cannot settle accounts with Vladivostok before the cold 
weather sets in. But the double objective — Port 
Arthur and Kuropatkin — which she set herself fix>m 
the first must have been adopted with full knowledge 
of the facts, and it could only have been adopted in 
the belief that her resources were amply sufficient to 
prosecute the double task to the end. 

It is not quite clear why the German authority. 
Count von Pfeil, is so certain that Oyama will be 
assuredly defeated. However, if we begin to rummage 
among old files and cast our eyes over the predictions 
of German pundits before and during the war, we can 
draw no other conclusion but that German talent has 
been completely at fault from first to last during the 
war, and has not added to its military reputation. 
Therefore, Count von Pfeil's prophecy of cioom for 
the Japanese is not of a nature to cause us serious 
disquiet. 

Other people appear to entertain strange ideas of 
military cnticism, and consider that it is quite sufficient 
to discuss events apres coup^ and, in short, to show 
how causes, after they have been ascertained, pro- 
duce effiscts which events have already made known. 
Nothing is easier. But to be of serious and practical 
utility it is precisely the converse method that should 
be adopted. The causes themselves, and all the sur- 
rounding data, should be considered with absolute 
impartiality, and the effects these causes are either 
certain or likely to produce should be duly set down in 
order. If we look back over the dossier of the war — 
scribimus indocti doctique — and observe the number of 
people who assured us that Russia would have half a 



RUSSIAN REGULARS 298 

million men in Manchuria by May, and others who 
declared that Manchuria could by no possibility be 
invaded by the Japanese, with many other variations 
on this Russian theme, we notice that the method 
which is most useful is at the same time most difficult, 
and that some judgment and experience are required 
for its practice. 

Kuropatkin is in this curious position, that his army 
has been beaten in many engagements while he himself 
has been present at none. He knows, or should know, 
the tally of his enemy's forces, but he has not observed 
them in action, and we may venture to doubt whether, 
even now, he rates them at their military worth. At 
the same time we are obliged to admit, after a close 
study of the most recent battles, that the regular 
Russian troops from the AVest, belonging to the active 
army, have given evidence of considerable retaining 

Sowers, even though victory still remains coy to a 
ussian embrace. The quick-firing field artillery has 
also been able to develop its powers in the hands of 
better trained troops and upon ground more suited to 
its action, and this will not have escaped the notice 
of Japanese commanders. Finally, the whole of the 
Russian troops are beginning, according to their lights, 
to leam the lesson of the modern battlefield, and there 
is some slight evidence of a changed and chastened 
spirit in Russian tactics. If the foolish reliance upon 
the virtue of intrenchments is at some distant date 
discarded, there is no saying but that the Russian army 
may not in process of time become quite effective for 
the purpose of war. 

We are told that the Japanese objective has been 
changed, and that it is now Mukden and not Liauyang. 
It is, of course, neither one nor the other, but only the 
Russian main army, wherever it may be. The evacua- 
tion of Haicheng by the Russians, after the disastrous 
defeat at Tomucheng, enabled the concentration of the 
three Japanese armies to be at length effected. There 
was a certain anxiety on this point before, owing to the 



294 THE SITUATION IN MIDAUGUST 

absence of lateral communications, but Kuropatkin 
failed to appreciate it, and the anxiety is now removed. 
If the Russians have concentrated, so have the Japanese, 
and the danger — ^the manifest danger — which Kuroki's 
right incurred for some time of being overwhelmed is 
very much minimised, if indeed it is not now entirely 
removed, by the Russian retreat from Ansanchan. 
Are there no other Japanese armies but the three we 
know of in the field ? According to the Russians there 
are not, but the Russian intelligence service has to work 
in what is practically a hostile country, and the resulting 
disadvanta^^ no army knows better than ours. There 
were certainly troops, even of the active army, left in 
Japan up to a comparatively recent date, and we are 
qmte in the dark as to any concentration that may 
have been effected in rear of the First Army, or any 
action impending to the west of the Liau Valley- 
Nothing, of course, can make up for want of weight at 
the decisive point, but it may be once more repeated 
that both the military and the political situation now 
demand something better than an ordinary victory such 
as the Japanese have hitherto won. 

Some authorities consider that the Japanese might 
long ago have been at Mukden had they been more 
enterprising. That is possibly true, but the question 
is one of price. A dash by Kuroki, strengthened for 
the occasion in May last, might have succeeded, but, 
infallibly, it involved some risk, while the Japanese 
would have lost the dearest wish of their hearts, a 
grand and decisive battle between the opposing armies 
at full strength within easy reach of the sea. The 
Russians have been induced to stand in Southern 
Manchuria by reason of the reinforcements which have 
reached them ; at an earlier stage they would certainly 
have gone back. Now that the outposts of the armies 
are in touch throughout their front and that the 
admirable intelligence service of the Japanese is better 
placed, even than before, to control the Russian move- 
ments, so soon as the weather permits any movements 



CHOICE OF THE BATTLEFIELD 295 

at all, we must conclude that, even if Kuropatkin 
desires to avoid a decisive battle, he can hardly have 
his wish. All that he has, within certain narrow 
limitations, is the choice of the battlefield. The 
initiative he seems to have surrendered to the enemy. 
Caelum quid quaerimus ultra ? 



CHAPTER XXVII ' 

THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

The great historic battle of Liauyang is such an ab- 
sorbing drama in itself, and may also have such notable 
consequences, that no apology need be made for tracing 
at once, in the broadest outline, the movements of the 
contending armies since August 28. Necessarily, such 
sketch can only be considered as imperfect and pre- 
liminary, since we must await the complete official 
accounts before attempting to form any final judgment 
upon all these truly remarkable events, destined to 
occupy such an important place not only in military lore, 
but m the history of the world. 

On August 28 the Russian army, not inferior in 
numbers to its enemy, held a chain of advanced positions 
to the south and east of Liauyang, from Anshantien by 
Kofanssu to Hungshaling on the right bank of the 
Tangho, and thence to the Taitse. The front occupied 
was about 40 miles in length, but only certain chief 
and dominating positions were held in strength. The 
strongest of these were — first, Anshantien, on the south 
front, where a high saddle-back hill commands the sur- 
rounding plain ; and, secondly, the Tangho position, 
the latter held by the 10th and 17th Army Corps and 
three East Siberian Divisions, besides other troops. 

The Japanese First Army, reinforced since its earlier 
actions by two reserve brigades and numbering altogether 
about 60,000 men, approached the Tangho position on 

* Based on articles in The Time* of September 6 and 7, 1904. 
296 



THE OPENING BLOW 297 

August 28 in three columns from the eastward ; the 
Second and Fourth Armies simultaneously drew near 
to Anshantien from the south with their main strength 
near the railway. 

The opening blow came from the First Army, which 
had the formidable task of attacking the strongly 
intrenched positions which the Russians had been con- 
structing for months past on the steep hills from Hung- 
shaling to Kungchaming and thence to the highlands 
north of Totiensz and Tohsikou. The Japanese had no 

E)sitions for their artillery except on the main road to 
iauyang, and the greater part of the work fell upon 
the infantry alone. 

General Kuroki's left column commenced operations 
on August 28, and by the 25th held the high ground on a 
line north of Erhtaoho and Pulintzu. The centre column, 
at midnight of August 25-26, moved forward and carried 
with the bayonet the enemy's main position at Kung- 
chanling. The Russians held out in a second position 
and enoeavoured to retake the lost ground, while their 
artillery remained unsubdued. Nevertheless, by hard 
fighting the Russians were driven back step by step into 
the vaUey of the Tangho. The right column also made 
a night attack upon Hungshaling and Chapanling, but 
though the right wing had some success the Russians 
held firm in their main works. 

On August 26 close and bitter fighting took place 
all along this front. General Kuroki's left column 
endeavoured to oust the Russians from the hills north- 
west of Kofanssu, but the semi-permanent defences 
constructed upon dominating sites, and the superiority 
of the Russian artillery, forbade success. The left wing 
of this Japanese column was in its turn assailed by 
increasing numbers, and could do little more than hold 
its ground. Thus on the night of August 26 the First 
Army had driven a wedge into the Russian left and had 
cut it in two, but as the wings held firm the Japanese 
objective had not been attained. 

During the night, however, the Russians attacked 



298 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

their enemy's right and were repulsed. The Japanese 
followed up this success and carried the main works at 
Hungshaling, capturing a whole battery of guns and 
turning the Russian left. On August 27 the attack was 
renewed under more favourable conditions, and when 
night fell Anping and the whole of the right bank of the 
Tangho were in Japanese hands. It is alleged, on the 
Russian side, that the reason for this retreat was a 
spate upon the Tangho, rendering the river unfordable, 
and causing great anxiety concerning the single bridge 
which spannea it. The Russians on this side, numbering 
65,000 men and 120 guns, retired towards Liauyang, 
having lost 1,500 men, but strong detachments still held 
out in rear-guard positions, and the Japanese left column, 
in the evening, had not advanced far north of Tohsikou. 
The First Army had carried out its preliminary mission, 
but with a loss of 2,000 men and after long and desperate 
fighting, mainly by night. 

The Second and Fourth Armies advanced upon 
Anshantien on August 25, but the attack this day was 
not pressed with vigour, and the Russian losses on the 
southern front were only 600 men. The defeat of the 
Russian left caused Kuropatkin to order a retirement 
from Anshantien. He was well advised, since an en- 
veloping movement was in progress both to the west 
and east of the town. A Japanese column from the 
west cut in upon the line of retreat at 10 a.m. on the 
28th near Pakuakou and threw the Russians into dis- 
order, capturing a battery of artillery which had become 
bogged in heavy ground, beside 50 or 60 carriages and 
ammunition waggons. The remainder of the column 
broke away and made good its retreat. Thus by 
August 28 the Russians had lost all their advanced 
positions and were driven in upon Liauyang with a loss 
of 16 guns and 2,100 men. It is probable that the 
actual losses exceeded the official estimate. This retreat 
upon Liauyang was an arduous operation. The moun- 
tainous character of the country to the eastward and the 
bad condition of the low ground and the roads after the 



THE TOWN 299 

rains made progress incredibly difficult, and it was only 
after immense exertions that all the guns and baggage 
were collected at Liauyang. 

If these preliminary operations were so far successful 
from the Japanese point of view, it is also true that the 
First Army had been very highly tried, and that, had 
part of the Fourth Army co-operated on its left, the 
long and wearing struggle on the Tangho might have 
been materially shortened. The Japanese Staff hardly 
appear to have realised the necessary consequence of a 
success by the First Army upon Kuropatkin's decisions. 
The attack upon Anshantien was a day too late ; the 
bird had flown, and the stroke of the Second and Fourth 
Armies was delivered in the air. Moreover, the First 
Army had been very heavily engaged, and its left was 
from 20 to 80 miles south of the Taitse on the morning 
of the 28th. The First Army was, thei-efore, not in a 
favourable situation to combine for a general attack, and 
it was too much separated and too exhausted to con- 
centrate rapidly on its right and to pursue, with all the 
requisite numbers, vigour and rapidity, the most im- 
portant and decisive act of the campaign which was now 
allotted to it. 

The Second and Fourth Armies were, however, 
fresh, and had been only slightly engaged. They there- 
fore advanced against the enemy, and in the afternoon 
of August 29 opened fire upon the Russians, now firmly 
established in the famous Liauyang position. 

Liauyang was the Russian military capital of 
Southern Manchuria. It is a large town of some 
60,000 inhabitants, in itself an advantage to an army of 
operations. It stands at the junction of the two main 
roads, one of which leads by the Motien and Feng- 
hwangchenn to Korea, and the other by the west coast 
of the Liautung Peninsula to Port Arthur. It is on the 
railway ; and in the Russian town which had grown up 
round the station were all the magazines of the field 
army, with the stores, supplies, ammunition, hospitals, 
remount depots, and other establishments necessary for 



800 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

the continuous activity of an army in the field. The 
defeat of the Russian anny at this point, which had 
been selected for the first great battle of the campaign, 
sealed the fate of Port Arthur, deprived the Russians of 
the supplies in the fruitful Liau Valley, and threatened 
to cut off the army from the easiest approaches to China, 
whence supplies and ponies had come in in a constant 
stream throughout the war. 

Liauyang, in short, was worth a mass, and we can 
understand the decision to fight there. Tactically the 
position was strong. Some three miles south of the 
town a chain of hills in crescent shape runs from Mount 
Shoushan, 426 ft. high, south-west of the town, round 
to the Taitse near the junction of the Tangho ; to the 
west Hsinlitun offers a favourable point for defence; 
north of the Taitse are other hills offering good assembly 
ground for reserves. This position had been deliberately 
chosen as the battlefield, and, long before the war broke 
out, fortifications were under construction here. As the 
tide of war ebbed back towards the town, these intrench- 
ments were extended ; the right of the position upon 
the plain and round the town of Liauyang was defended 
by works of a serious character ; many heavy guns were 
brought up to the railway station of Liauyang, and 
emplacements prepared for the numerous and powerful 
quick-firing field artillery at Kuropatkin's disposal If 
nfteen or more Russian divisions could not hold such a 
formidable field fortress against open assault by all the 
might of Japan, while Port Arthur still bravely held up 
another Nippon army at its gates, the cause of Russia 
in Southern Manchuria was lost, certainly for this year, 
perhaps for longer. 

Kuropatkin determined to stand his ground and to 
fight the quarrel out to a finish. 

The Russian Army of Manchuria, now at len^h 
concentrated and in a humour to stand fast, included 
the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Siberian Army Corps, 
the 10th and 17th European Army Corps and about one 
brigade of the 1st European Corps which was in process 



RUSSIAN POSITION 301 

of transport eastward, besides the Cossack Divisions 
under Alishehenko, Samsonoff, and Grekoff, giving in all 
a combatant strength of about 220,000 men. These 
troops were disposed approximately as follows on the 
evenmg of August 29 : General Baron Stackelberg, with 
his fine corps the 1st Siberians, held the dominating 
Shoushan and the line from Miaota on the railway to 
the village of Tawa. Here the 8rd Siberian Army Corps, 
under General Ivanoff, took up the line of defence, holding 
the high ground between Tawa and the road leading 
from Minkiafan to Liauyang. On his left, General 
Slutchevsky, with the 10th European Army Corps, held 
the front from Minkiafan to Siapon and the Taitse 
River. This contraction of the formerly extended front 
permitted the despatch of General Bilderling s 17th Army 
Corps to the right bank of the Taitse, where it took 
position from Slutchevsky 's left to Hsikwantun. The 
2nd Army Corps, General Sassulitch, the 4th, General 
Zarubaieff, and half the 5th, General Dembovsky, formed 
the general reserve at and around Liauyang. On the 
extreme left the 54th Reserve Division of the 5th Corps, 
under Major-G^eneral OrlofF, together with Samsonoff s 
Cossacks, occupied the Yentai Mines, while Mishchenko 
protected the right of the position on the low ground 
about Wuluntai. 

The three Japanese armies advancing to the attack 
of this formidable position were the Second (Oku), the 
Fourth (Nodzu),ana the First (Kuroki), including, from 
left to right, the 6th, 4th, 8rd, 5th, 10th, Guards, 2nd, 
and 12th Divisions, reinforced by a certain number of 
reserve brigades, the exact number and strength of which 
have not yet been officially disclosed. The numerical 
strength of the Japanese was inferior to that of the 
enemy. 

The Russian position was strongly intrenched. 
West of Shoushan, epaulements had been made for 
artillery, and on their right were other trenches for 
infantry. Trenches ran all along Shoushan, and in 
front of them the kaoliang had been cut down to allow 



302 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

a field of fire of varying extent, but not over 800 or 
under 150 yards. Further east the trenches were con- 
tinued, but the greater part of the artillery used indirect 
fire during the action. Only a few batteries were estab- 
lished on the slopes facing the enemy. The units of the 
17th Army Corps occupied a chain of hills with steep 
bluffs facing eastward. The artillery fire from these 
hills swept the whole valley of the Taitse, and protected 
the left of the 10th Army Corps, in a very effective 
manner. Most of these trenches were of the character 
of fieldworks of normal tjrpes, namely, infantry trenches 
for riflemen kneeling, with field shelters and traverses, 
while gun-pits were prepared for artillery, with shelters 
against plunging me. On Shoushan the works were 
more solid, whde wire entanglements, trou-s de Ump^ 
and fougasses presented serious obstacles to assault. 
The hills themselves were difficult of access and com- 
manded the Japanese positions throughout the front. 

Kound Liauyang itself there were strong defences 
of even more solid kind. Eleven closed works had 
been built, with parapets for men standing, while 
traverses and bombproofs gave additional security ; the 
ditches in front of these works were deep, and wire 
entanglements, besides fougasses and trous de Ump^ 
were accumulated upon every avenue of approach. For 
a distance of 800 paces the kax)Uang had been half cut 
through near the ground and then bent over and inter- 
laced, making a novel kind of abatis of an effective 
description. Five bridges were at disposal for move- 
ments across the Taitse, namely, a pontoon bridge at 
Khvahe, two bridges of native junks at Efa and Kao- 
litziun, a pile bridge at Chaotzialin, and lastly the 
railway bridge. The greater part of the depdts and 
services connected with the line of communications were 
transferred to Tieling on or before August 29. 

On the night of August 29 the Japanese brought up 
the rest of the artillery of the Second and Fourth Armies, 
and at dawn on the 30th opened a severe and contiimous 
cannonade upon the Russian positions. In the front 



WEIJAGO 303 

attacked by the Second and Fourth Armies there were 
the guns of the five divisions, besides six batteries of 
field howitzers and some lOS Krupp cannon taken at 
Kinchou, making in all some 220 guns in battery on the 
southern front. In all directions, but mainly towards 
the Russian centre and right, strong columns of infantry 
deployed and made their way through the kaoliang 
crops, over a horseman's head at this season, seeking to 
force back the defenders from their advanced positions. 
The left column of the First Army, coming up from 
the south, attacked the positions at Menchafang and 
Yayuchi at dawn on the 80th, but the enemy was rein- 
forced and no impression could be made. A column of 
the Fourth Army attacked the centre north-west of 
Weijago and at first gained some success, but at 10 a.m. 
a large body of Russians, eventually reinforced to two 
divisions, with over 50 guns, came out from Liauyang 
and made a fierce counter-attack. By the afternoon the 
Japanese column was in a dangerous position, but 
Nodzu's men held on stoutly, and at 3 p.m., aided by 
part of the column of the First Army on their right, 
repulsed the Russians and established themselves securely 
near Weijago. 

While these two columns thus held in play the 
Russian centre and occupied the attention of the 
enemy, the Second Army and the main body of 
the Fourth Army were directed to the left, and from 
dawn to dusk assailed the Russians from Hsinlitun to 
Shoushanpao. The Second Army occupied Tachao- 
kiatung by 10 a.m., and attacked the west front of 
Shoushan. The Russians held Gozucazui, and opened 
a hot fire from this point with their machine-guns. Up 
to 4.30 p.m. no progress was made, although the whole 
army was employed, and it became necessary to 
strengthen the left with part of the general reserve. 
In this part of the field the Japanese reached Wangehr- 
shan, whence fire was brought upon the Russian rear, 
striking the reseives, part of whom had been brought 
up, and had been massed on the northern slopes of 



304 THE BATTLE OP LI AU YANG 

Shoushan. The Russian defences on this side proved 
too formidable to be overcome easily. They were of 
great and unexpected strength, while the obstacles 
accumulated in front of them presented great difficulties 
to the infantry advance. On Shoushan alone, where 
stood General Baron Stackelberg, 100 guns were in 
position, and round all these formidable posts the fi^t 
continued to rage till dark without any advantage 
gained. In the night the Russians attacked the Second 
Army, but were repulsed, and a Japanese attack upon 
Shoushan which followed had no better success. 

The Russians had taken one hint at least from Boer 
tactics, and had lined the foot of the slopes with infantry 
trenches. Against these the attacks of the Japanese 
were made in vain throughout the 80th, and, althoudfi 
the shrapnel fire struck the whole line of works on me 
hills, and caused the Russians a loss of some 8,000 men, 
no material impression was made upon the defence. To 
all parts of the sorely tried Russian Empire copies of 
the Official Messenger carried the welcome news of a 
splendid victory. 

But it was only the beginning. That night the 
12th Division of the First Army began to concentrate 
on its right, leaving to its comrades the task of holding 
and pounding the Russians to the south of the Taitse. 
The mission of the First Army was to cross the river 
near Liantaowan, and to occupy a line from Hankaladzu 
to Santsago by 4 p.m. on August 81. It was known 
that the two divisions of the 17th Army Corps, repulsed 
at Hanpoling, had crossed to the north of the Taitse on 
August 29, and it was therefore morally certain that the 
First Army would be vigorously opposed. 

:For a decisive operation of this character, weight 
was essential. But all the First Army was not available 
to join in the projected movement. Its left colunm, 
as we have seen, had been in difficulties from the be- 
ginning, and on August 30 had been detached so far 
to the south that it had joined in the delaying action of 
the Fourth Army with the Russian centre. Kuroki 



THE RIVER CROSSED 805 

was also compelled to leave a screen of troops upon the 
Tangho to meet a possible and even threatened counter- 
attack on the part of the enemy on this side, while he 
was obliged to keep one mixed brigade in the Penhsihu 
direction to guard his exposed right flank. It thus 
befell that the Guards Division, one reserve brigade, and 
one regiment of the 2nd Division could not take imme- 
diate part in the movement north of the Taitse, and 
that General Kuroki was forced to undertake this 
hazardous and decisive operation with first one and then 
two incomplete divisions, eventually strengthened by 
one mixed brigade — a force manifestly incapable of 
carrying through its task with the desirable vigour and 
completeness should the enemy display the slightest 
knowledge of war. 

The movement across the river began at 11 p.m. on 
August 30. The 12th Division crossed first, and ad- 
vanced towards Kanwantun, finding at first only small 
bodies of the enemy to the north and west. Okazaki's 
brigade of the 2nd Division, leaving a small force at 
Shihchufoz, crossed between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the 
81st, and by the evening of August 81 the aoove troops 
occupied a line from Kwantung to Swichun through 
Santsago, as ordered. At 4 a.m. the same day the 
reserve brigade near Penhsihu crossed the river at 
Wohengtun, drove the enemy from Weiningyin, and 
occupied Penhsihu. The artillery, which had awaited 
the construction of a bridge, were passed over on the 
night of August 31, and joined the force north of the 
river. Finally, Matsunaga's brigade of the 2nd Division 
crossed during the night of September 1, and joined the 
fighting line at 9.30 a.m. on September 2. A delicate 
part of the movement had thus far taken place without 
any molestation. 

Meanwhile the Second and Fourth Armies, despite 
their failure to make any serious impression upon 
August 30, renewed their attacks on August 31 with 
increasing vigour. At 3 a.m. the infantry of Okus 
right column made a resolute attack, and effected a 

20 



806 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

lodgment on the high ground south of Shoushan with 
one regiment. Fired upon heavily from both flanks 
and assailed by superior forces, this body was forced 
back to the foot of the hills, after suffering serious 
losses; while another regiment on its right found the 
fire so heavy and the hms so steep that it was forced 
to lie down at the foot of the hills, and was unable to 
advance. Oku's second colunrm, after repulsing frequent 
attacks during the night, followed up the enemy in the 
darkness, and, in spite of a deadly fire from machine- 
guns, pushed on to the railway. Here it was over- 
looked by the Russians on the high ground, and, though 
reinforced by five battalions from Oku's third colunm, 
was unable to make headway. The whole strength of 
the 8rd and 4th Divisions of the Second Army was thus 
engaged, and all the available artillery was in action at 
effective ranges ; but the position was too strong, and 
no advantage was gained. Finally, the commander of 
Oku's third column, or 6th Division, reported at 5 p.m. 
that a fresh Russian force had appeared at Peitai, and 
the last reserves of this division were sent forward to 
meet them. The situation was growing critical, and it 
was now determined that the whole of the artillery 
should concentrate its fire preparatory to a renewal of 
the infantry attack. At 7 p.m., therefore, the ffuns 
opened with increased vigour, while the infantry clun^ 
tenaciously to the ground they had won, and prepared 
to renew their attacks at night. 

The incidents which had occurred during this 
fighting of the Second Army were repeated in Nodzu's 
army during the day of August 31. A severe fight 
raged throughout the day, but as darkness fell no ad- 
vantage of moment had been gained, though the greater 
part of the troops had been thrown into the fight. 

At this critical moment of the battle the influence 
of General Kuroki's movement was at last felt. Kuro- 
patkin learnt of his enemy's move in the forenoon of 
August 31. As, moreover, the attacks on the left of 
the Russian front south of the river — decidedly the 




u 



OYAMA'S VERSION 307 

weakest part of his southern defences — were much less 
energetic than those on the centre and right, Kuropatkin 
judged that the main hody of Kuroki s army had been 
told off to turn the left flank of the Russian army, and 
to act against its line of communications. 

In this belief Kuropatkin decided to withdraw his 
southern front to the inner line of defences surrounding 
Liauyang, and to concentrate a large force against 
Kuroki, and attempt to hurl his army back into the 
river. Orders were therefore issued in the course of 
the evening of August 81 for the withdrawal of the 
1st, 8rd, and 10th Army Corps from the positions they 
had held so stiffly for two days ; while to General 
Zarubaieff, with the 2nd and 4th Army Corps, was 
confided the duty of resisting upon the strong line of 
works round Liauyang. Thanks to the numerous 
bridges which had been provided, this movement was 
executed during the night without a hitch, and by the 
morning of September 1 the three Army Corps were 
north of the river, where they were granted a brief but 
much-needed rest. A number of units were retained in 
the old positions to cover the retreat, while Mishchenko's 
Cossacks were utilised for the same purpose. 

When, therefore, in the course of the night of 
August 81, and at dawn on September 1, the indomi- 
table Japanese continued their fierce attacks upon 
Hsinlitun and Shoushan, and when at last their valour 
met with a well-merited reward, and the last remaining 
Russians were driven out of their works and the whole 
position occupied, it was excusable on the part of 
Marshal Oyama to attribute this success to causes other 
than those which had brought it to pass. He spoke of 
the remnant of a routed army, and referred to the 
pursuit ; but when his further advance was barred by 
the two comparatively fresh Army Corps holding Liau- 
yang, supported by artillery in battery on the hills 
north-east of Muchwang, the character of the manoeuvre 
upon which his enemy was set became gradually 
understood. 



808 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

Meanwhile the troops of the First Army across 
the river were now holding a front six miles in length, 
presenting the appearance of a much larger force tnan 
they actually possessed, and to the end of the action 
their strength was greatly over-estimated by the enemjr. 
At dawn on September 1 the first colunm and mam 
body of the second attacked the 17th Army Corps west 
of Haiyentai and the Hsikwantun hills and south of 
the Tsofango hills, but the opposing artillery fire and 
the Russian counter-attacks made progress difficult and 
slow. Umezawa's mixed brigade, however, drove the 
enemy before it, and by 8 p.m. seized the hills north of 
Hongshantse. 

Not satisfied with his progress, Kuroki continued 
his attacks at night. By dawn on September 2 his 
right column occupied a line fix)m near the Yentai 
Mines to the high ground north-west of Tayao, while 
his second column captured the hills north-west of 
Haiyentai by 2 a.m., but the detachment which attacked 
Hsikwantun ridge and 181-M6tre Hill to westward 
met with strong opposition, and could do little more 
than hold its ground when won. An order was now 
sent to the Guards to cross at 181-M6tre Hill, but the 
order was not one that it was possible to execute. 
Considering that Kuroki, with two and a half divisions, 
was now engaged with nine infantry and two cavalry 
divisions of the enemy, it is not a matter for sur- 
prise that the impetus of his attack had reached its 
term. 

The troops which Kuropatkin had destined for his 
counter-attack upon Kuroki included the 1st and 8rd 
East Siberian Corps, the 10th and 17th European 
Army Corps, Orloff s 54th Division of the 5th Corps, 
and the cavalry of Mishchenko, Samsonofi*, and Grekoff. 
These troops took with them eight days' supplies, 
and were K)llowed only by their fighting trains and 
ammunition columns. The manner in which these 
various units were for the most part withdrawn from 
the southern fighting line, transported across the river. 



GENERAL ORLOFF 809 

and aligned in front of Kuroki, was creditable to the 
directing staff. 

The orders were for Bilderling, with the 17th Corps, 
to form the advanced guard ; the main body was in 
two columns, the right composed of the 10th Army 
Corps and the left of the 1st Siberians, the latter pro- 
tected on their left by OrlofF's Division and the Cos- 
sacks of SamsonofF and GrekofF. Mishchenko s cavalry 
were left at Sahetun to await orders, while the 8rd 
Siberian Corps acted as reserve. 

At 11 a.m. on September 2, an hour before the 
heads of the Russian corps were aligned, Kuropatkin, 
who had taken his position near the village of Siao- 
chentse(?), became anxious respecting his left, from 
which no news had been received, and he thereupon 
despatched one of Mishchenko's regiments to inquire 
into OrlofF's proceedings. This general had got into 
trouble during the Boxer outbreak owing to initiative 
attributed to insubordination, and had been put on the 
shelf in command of the 54th Reserve Brigade. The 
fortune of war now ordained that this commander and 
a body of untried troops of secondary value, just out of 
the train after a thirty days' journey, should decide the 
issues which were being fought out over this immense 
battlefield. 

OrlofF, with thirteen battalions, occupied a position 
on some hills south-east of the Yentai Mines on Septem- 
ber 1. He was without orders, but, hearing the guns 
in his vicinity, determined to march to the cannon. As 
he was starting ofF he received a telegram from Army 
Headquarters, worded as follows : " In the general 
order your mission is to join Bilderling if he is not 
attacked, and to support his left if he is." OrlofF there- 
fore stopped his advance and informed Bilderling that he 
awaited his instructions. Having no further orders at 
dawn on September 2, and finding the 17th Corps 
engaged at a distance of five miles to his right, OrlofF 
attacked, advancing without reconnaissance or artillery 
preparation, through the kaoliang. SamsonofF, alleging 



310 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

a direct order from Kuropatkin directing him to hold 
the Yentai Mines, is supposed to have refused to 
accompany him. Orloff fell into an ambuscade and 
was heavily defeated by Shinamura's brigade of the 
12th Division. His troops suffered great losses, and were 
driven away some six miles to the west in disorder. 

Informed of this mischance soon after 8 p.m., and 
alarmed for his extreme left and rear, which appeared 
to be uncovered, Kuropatkin ordered Stackelberg's 1st 
Siberian Army Corps to hasten on to the rescue. But 
this corps was exhausted by ceaseless fighting, and its 
numbers were reduced to some sixty men per company. 
Not before dusk was this much-tried corps able to 
intervene effectually. Meanwhile the Cossacks filled the 
void, and, though they offered an energetic resistance 
with dismounted men for some time, were eventually 
driven back in their turn. This disaster to his left 
made a deep impression upon Kuropatkin, who now 
faltered at tne critical moment and failed to proceed 
with an attack which he had engineered and prepared 
with a considerable degree of skill. " The enemy," he 
telegraphed in exculpatory vein to the Tsar on Septem- 
ber 11, "were now established in an extremely strong 
position on two hills, and it would have been too 
hazardous a task for our troops on our left flank to 
have attacked them in view of the losses sustained in 
the previous five days. Inasmuch as on the night of 
September 2 our troops were also compelled to abandon 
their positions near the village of Hsikwantun I decided 
to retire to Mukden." 

While nine Russian divisions had thus been 
pirouetting for two days before Kuroki's extended 
but attenuated line without venturing to make a 
single attack of any importance, circumstances had 
fortunately allowed the commander of the First Army 
to call up Matsunaga's brigade of the 2nd Division, 
and this joined him at 9.30 a.m. on September 2. He 
stood badly in need of reinforcement His detachment 
at the mines was outnumbered by three to one, little 



EVACUATION OF LI AU YANG 311 

though Kuropatkin was aware of the fact, and in the 
late afternoon sixty guns were in action against it. 
Nearly a hundred guns were showering projectiles upon 
the troops of the second column which had taken Hsi- 
kwantun and Haiyentai, and were clinging to this 
blood-stained ground with increasing difficulty. The 
men had not eaten a meal nor drunk a drop of water 
since the preceding night, and had subsisted on the 
small supply of raw rice carried in their haversacks. 

With the arrival of the brigade of the 2nd Division 
the First Army renewed the contest with vigour, but 
the weight of numbers and of metal opposed to it was 
overwhelming, and though the 1st Siberians were forced 
away to the west, the mass of the Russian forces con- 
fronting Kuroki's centre and left could not be driven 
back, though fighting continued until late at night. 

Meanwhile the defenders of Liauyang had deserved 
well of their country, and for three long days held off 
from Kuropatkin the whole weight of the Second and 
Fourth Armies of Japan. Re-forming his command 
during the day of September 1, General Oku advanced 
in full strength at 7 a.m. on September 2, supported by 
General Nodzu on his right. By 10 a.m. both armies 
were in action, but neither could make any impression 
on the Russian defences throughout the day. All the 
artillery of the combined Japanese armies was in 
action, and repeated attempts were made to close, 
but the strength of the defences and the desperate 
character of the resistance rendered all efforts useless. 
At night the customaiy effort was made by part of one 
of Okus columns to assault near Shiquan, but the 
obstacles and cross-fire from machine-guns rendered 
the effort fruitless. 

Kuropatkin's order for the evacuation of Liauyang 
now reached the garrison, but the retirement from the 
town was no light task in view of the continued pressure 
of the southern armies. Oku continued his attacks at 
dawn on September 3, bringing up his guns within rifie 
range to breach the forts and silence the machine-guns. 



812 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

A part of the defenders were thrown into disorder, but 
the remainder held firm, though Oku's infantry had 
now crept up to within 200 yards of the intrenchnients. 
Nodzu's efforts were no less persistent, but the Russians 
held firm to cover the evacuation, which had begun in 
the course of the afternoon, and was carried out with 
admirable coobiess and skill All the equipment was 
removed, but it was impossible to save the commissariat 
reserves, which amounted to eight days' supplies for the 
army, and most of these were destroyed. The pontoon 
bridge was dismantled and removed, the other temporary 
bridges burnt, and the railway bridge partially wrecked. 
Before this last act was performed the rear-guards were 
hurried back, and when, soon after midnight, the 
Japanese rushed over the defences with loud cheers, 
they found that their prey had escaped them, and was 
safely across the river. 

Interference with the pursuit on the part of the 
Second and Fourth Armies was impracticable. The 
means of passage were wanting, while it was impossible 
to save the burning bridges owing to the fire of the 
Russians on the further bank. 

Kuroki, for his part, was still faced by the mass of 
the Russian army, and on September 8 was unable to 
make progress. On this day, however, one brigade of 
the Guards at length joined the army, while the second 
appeared on the following day. On September 4 
131-M6tre Hill was occupied, and the pursuit organised. 
The Russian army was now in fiill retreat. Kuroki's 
right flank detachment occupied Pingtaitse, and then 
advanced towards Yentai. At night the 12th Division 
came to close quarters with a superior force of the 
enemy, but drove him away to the north-east at 
6.30 a,m., then occupying a line fi-om Motienkau to 
Lilinkau, where a halt was made. The 2nd Division 
seized Santaopa at 1.30 p.m. on September 5, and from 
this point its artillery came into action for half an hour 
against the enemy retiring fix)m Fanshien, and threw 
him into confusion. The Guards reached Laotsitai at 



CAUSES OF THE DEFEAT 818 

8 a.m., and there halted, while the mixed brigade 
occupied Yumentseshan after a fight. 

The Russian casualties from August 26 to Septem- 
ber 4 were estimated at 25,000 men by Marshal Oyama, 
while the Japanese lost 17,589 men between August 26 
and September 10, namely, 4,866 in the First Army, 
4,992 in the Fourth, and 7,681 in the Second. 

When a defeat of the army of a great military 
empire occurs almost before our eyes, we are all alike 
interested in ascertaining the causes, so that a similar 
calamity may be averted from our arms. We desire to 
know whether any great principles of strategy have been 
violated or whether some failure in leadership, arms, 
tactics, or military spirit has been the determining cause 
of the misfortune. 

The time is not ripe for a full discussion of all these 
subjects, but there are certain points which already 
admit of separate discussion and need not be left in the 
background until we obtain all that full and complete 
information which we can scarcely anticipate for many 
years, when all the official reports from each side have 
been sifted and compared. 

Let it be said at once it is not owing to any decay 
of military spirit in the Russian troops, whether officers 
or men, that this misfortune has fallen upon them. 
Such as the Russian army always has been, such it 
remains. It is rather the diabolical power of the 
Japanese in the attack — to adopt the expressive phrase 
of the Novosti — that attracts and holds our attention. 

It is not, then, so much the failure of the Russians 
as the success of the Japanese that is the centre of 
interest. So far as we have gone, the clear and con- 
stantly accumulating evidence from the Far East shows 
that never in our time have such rare and splendid 
qualities been applied to the business of offensive war 
as in this year of grace 1904 by the rulers and people of 
Japan. 

Six months of war against a military empire of 



314 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

180 millions of people, and not one solitary defeat on 
land or sea ! In every succeeding battle the superiority 
of the alert and intelligent islanders becoming more and 
more painfully manifest, and then, to crown all, this 
magnificent achievement, this decisive battle, so ardently 
desired, whereby Japan has indelibly graven her name 
upon the annals of history and has proved her titles to 
military fame by a resounding victory which will rever- 
berate to the four comers of Asia and change the spirit 
of the East. 

Follow the Japanese fighter where we may, he com- 
mands our reasoned admiration. Are the Germans 
more thorough, have the French more dash, are the 
English more stubborn, or the Dutch more slim ? The 
Russians are out of luck to have encountered and first 
proved the mettle of such a foe. The Russians have 
been beaten — ^to put it with brutal frankness — because 
their army, though good, is not good enough to fight 
Japanese. There is no other reason which can account 
for the fact that a Russian army in a strongly intrenched 
position has been turned out of it by an enemy inferior 
in numbers. Patriotism, valour, constancy are all fine 
qualities, and the Russians yield to none in their posses- 
sion ; but all are wasted in modem war if not united 
with intelligence — and here Russia fails. 

The Russian army, like the Russian Church, has 
existed for ages past with no definite purpose save to 
support and extend the power of Tsarism. Intelligence 
was not required for that purpose ; on the contrary, it 
was inconvenient. An autocrat has no use for an army 
that thinks. The ideal was to possess a weapon ready 
to the hand of autocracy, a weapon that could be used 
for autocratic purposes, and, when not required, would 
lie in the corner inert. That ideal was attained, but 
only because the Russian nation, whence the raw material 
was drawn, was embedded in a slough of antiquated and 
barbarous superstitions. When war came, modem war, 
with its imperative demand for independence, initiative, 
and intelligence, these qualities were missing. They 



TRENCH AND PARAPET 315 

had been sternly repressed for centuries, and only 
centuries can renew them. The Russian soldier, when 
sober and not brutalised by slaughter, is a great, strong, 
kind, superstitious child ; as good a fellow as ever 
stepped, but always a child. Given an educated and 
highly trained corps of officers of a good class, capable 
of instructing, caring for, and leading him with judgment 
and skill, the Russian soldier would go far. But there 
is no such corps of officers in Russia, and, though there 
are many highly educated and accomplished officers in 
the Tsar's army, there are not enough to leaven the 
lump. 

See, then, what happens. After a few experiences, 
doleful indeed, Russian generals fly from the mountains, 
from the kaoUangj from every battlefield that is not a 
parade-ground strongly intrenched. The Russians were 
turned out of the mountain passes at the end of June 
without an effort ; in the open, at Telissu, the Japanese 
ran over them. It was only when the Russian, gunner 
or foot soldier, was given a trench and a parapet and a 
clear field of fire and told which way to shoot that he 
proved to be of any serious service at all. 

Every educated soldier knows that fortifications are 
an invention of the Evil One, and that an army that 
intrenches, except offensively, is an army that is lost. 
War is an affair of activity, initiative, and movement ; 
the trench and parapet are the negation of all three. A 
soldier taught to trust in the virtue of trench and parapet 
loses heart when he is taken from them, or they from 
him ; he gives himself up for lost. Thus every army 
should have no engineers, but only pioneers ; men who 
can build bridges, blast rocks, make roads, blow open 
doors, mine the enemy's works, construct railways and 
telegraphs and work them ; do all, in fact, that assists 
movement, and learn nothing and teach nothing that 
prevents it. 

General Kuropatkin, Minister of War when the 
existing Russian instructions for battle were published 
at St. Petersburg, must be supposed to have approved 



316 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

them. They were, of course, inspired by Dragomiroff, 
and breathe throughout the loftiest spirit of the offen- 
sive, pushed to almost excessive lengths. How comes 
it that, when Kuropatkin had to apply his own instruc- 
tions in action, he adopted precisely the contrary line, 
remained the passive victim of his enemy's initiative, 
dug his men into trenches, and made every battle a 
Japanese holiday? 

Kuropatkin is a man of intelligence and experience. 
He is, of course, a Russian and a fatalist, loyal to the 
core to his Imperial master, and capable of committing 
any folly he is ordered to perpetrate ; phlegmatic, too, 
and no phlegmatic ^neral nas ever yet made a success 
of war, nor ever will ; yet withal a man who inspires 
love in his troops and sympathy in the world. Kuro- 
patkin, we can be sure, would have followed the sage 
councils of his own instructions had he dared. We can 
only conclude that he found, as every Russian general 
must find, that his men and his officers were not capable 
of canying on an offensive campaign in rough ground 
from want of intelligence and field-craft. That dismal 
situation is not to be changed in a day, for causa lately 
vis est notissinuiy and it is the Russian people and all 
their institutions that must be reformed from top to 
bottom before progress can percolate from the Russian 
schoolmaster through the ranks of the army. 

These things being as they are, was Kuropatkin 
right or wrong to accept battle at Liauyang, or to 
submit to the dictation of battle from higher quarters ? 
Let us give him, for the sake of argument, 200,000 
men and his adversary the same ; more, no doubt, if 
we add non-combatants. In rear, and drawing towards 
the field army, there were such parts of the 1st Army 
Corps as had not yet arrived, and the 6th Siberian Corps 
and the 6th Don Cossack Division and various other 
troops. There were also as many more behind as 
Kuropatkin could promise to feed. Every month he 
could hope to become stronger by 20,000 to 80,000 
men, provided the railway held out and did not foil 



TWO POINTS OF VIEW 317 

for three whole weeks, as it has recently done for the 
second time since the war broke out His game, there- 
fore, was to wait, not to exhaust his troops by useless 
and discursive fighting, but to hold them together at 
all costs and exercise infinite patience until the required 
superiority of numbers was secured. If, on the other 
hand, after a full review of the situation, the Russian 
Government were forced to admit that the necessary 
superiority of numbers could never be expected, then, 
in view of the prowess of the Japanese, the campaign 
was lost, and it was the business of the Tsar's advisers 
to recognise the fact and act accordingly. 

The famous communique issued to the Russian press 
at the time of Kuropatkin's appointment to the com- 
mand distinctly affirmed that the policy of delay until 
superiority of numbers was obtained was the policy 
deliberately adopted. We ventured to remark at the 
time that this policy, admirable in itself and obviously 
the only strategy deserving of the name, neglected that 
terrible entanglement of Port Arthur, and that no Tsar 
and no Russian army could resist the cry for help from 
the great fortress. How true that forecast was the 
events of the past six months have shown ; all the 
Russian disasters have been directly traceable to the 
terrible magnetism of the great place-of-arms on 
the Pacific shores. 

Some months ago we quoted with approval Drago- 
mirofTs advice, sent to us by a Russian correspondent, 
that Port Arthur should be evacuated, believing that 
it was in the true interest of Russia not to leave the 
great garrison to add to the laurels of Japan, and that 
a smaller sacrifice of national self-esteem was better 
than the greater sacrifice which events would surely 
impose. 

The two points of view, whether Port Arthur should 
have been held or not, are argued in the National 
Review for September, 1904, and may form the subject 
of controversy to the end of time. Our point of view 
was, and is, that the diversion of 80,000 men to form 



818 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

the garrison of Port Arthur left Kuropatkin too weak 
to take the offensive against the Japanese army first 
landed, and thus tended to deprive him of one of the 
greatest advantages that an army ashore possesses 
against a great invasion from over-sea, an operation 
necessarily slow and requiring time, save in the ease 
of a Power possessing such a mercantile fleet as ours. 
We also maintained, both before the war began and 
now, that Port Arthur contained the fatal germs of 
strategic death for the Pacific squadron, and that the 
whole underlying idea of the fortress or harbour of 
refuge is based upon false reasoning and is a heresy that 
deserves to be placed on the index of our national 
strategy. 

As regards the play and counter-play of the rival 
navies, we assumed, on what seemed and has since 
proved to be correct information from Russia, that the 
junction of the Baltic and Pacific squadrons was a 
patriotic chimera, since the Baltic squadron was not 
ready for war, nor could be made ready until the 
Pacific squadron would probably be, for strategic 
purposes, dead. 

Under these circumstances the retention of Port 
Arthur appeared to be an incubus to Russia, and 
nothing else. At the time this question was first 
discussed evacuation by the garrison was possible, since 
the Japanese armies had not landed. As regards the 
squadron, we maintained, and still maintain, that it 
would have been infinitely better to have come out and 
fought with Togo with every ship that could float, with 
the utmost degree of energy, to the last ship and the 
last round, with the view of breaking in at all costs 
upon Japan's small and non-expansive capital of warships, 
and thus preparing the way for future action. What 
has been gained by the passive attitude of the Pacific 
squadron ? It has been whittled down from its 
considerable original strength, unit by unit and week 
by week, to five damaged battleships, one effective 
cruiser, and a few torp«lo craft. These vessels are 



PORT ARTHUR 819 

fighting with siege batteries ; their decks, says Mr. 
Dooley, are intrenched. When the Japanese siege 
batteries control the whole area of the harbour the 
destruction of these ships is assured. The Pacific 
squadron has not, fi-om first to last, been used as a 
naval force at all. 

We have never been able to perceive that Port 
Arthur in Russian hands necessarily entailed such delay 
upon the main operations of the Japanese army as to 
affect prejudicially their course or their success. We 
have been unable to agree that Port Arthur imposed 
upon the Japanese two conflicting objectives, since the 
military resources of Japan appeared to us adequate 
for the prosecution of the dual enterprise. We have 
also contested the assumption that Port Arthur 
necessarily retained more men before its walls than the 
numbers of the garrison. That the Japanese have 
landed and employed a larger number of men than the 
garrison in order to draw close their lines and reach 
the ships in harbour with the fire of their siege batteries 
we can admit, but it is not a necessary consequence 
that they should all have been since detained round 
the fortress, for precedents could be quoted where 
garrisons besieged have been held fast by smaller numbers 
than their own. 

It has been affirmed that the Japanese have 
recognised that Port Arthur is the key, not only to the 
naval war, but to the whole campaign on land and sea. 
It is doubtful whether this has been their view, ardently 
though possession of the fortress is desired from motives 
of national pride. The true objective at Port Arthur 
was neither the town nor the harbour, but the ships, 
and once the ships were destroyed there was little else 
to deserve the waste of life of an assault. 

We may go even further, and affirm that General 
Stossel, who has so richly earned his St. George, is 
equally deserving of the Order of the Rising Sun. 
Given the ships destroyed, the longer- Port Arthur 
holds out the better for Japan. So long as Port Arthur 



320 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

is in Russian hands there is no strategic liberty for 
Russian armies ; the line of march is compulsory, and 
it leads at last to the Kinchou isthmus, which could not 
be forced by all the might of Russia with Japan in 
command of the sea. 

So long as Port Arthur holds out, its sjn^n voice 
Mrill attract one Russian army after another into the 
fatal circle of its malign attraction, there to be dealt 
with as poor Stackelberg was, by the resistless weight 
of amphibious force, in a perfect theatre for the exercise 
of its utmost strength. The soul of Port Arthur is, 
and always has been, with Kuropatkin's bayonets. 

Given the decision to stand and fight a decisive 
battle at Liauyang, it becomes of interest to examine 
the tactical aspects of the engagement, and to gather 
fix)m them the lessons which they appear to convey. 
The original disposition of the Russian forces first caUs 
for certain remarks. The defence of the southern firont 
was well conceived, and the allotment of three army 
corps to the more or less passive defence of this line 
should have been, and indeed proved, ample, especially 
in view of the strength and dominating character of the 
ground held, and the security of the wings, resting upcm 
the river on each fiank, and specially strengthenea on 
the right by the important works round Liauyang, which 
resemble in plan the permanent fortification of a hundred 
years ago. To the north of the river the battery posi- 
tions on each flank swept the approaches and made all 
attempts to turn the flanks of the position south of the 
river impracticable. Despite contrary deductions which 
may be drawn fi-om Marshal Oyama's earlier despatches 
firom the battle-field, it is hardly possible to douot that 
no serious successes were gained by the fi-ontal attack of 
infantry against the Russian position during the days of 
August 80 and 81, although at least five divisions with 
a certain number of reserve brigades, all the reserve of 
the army, and perhaps 220 guns, were employed with the 
utmost energy and determination. Nor, again, can it 
be said that the Second and Fourth Armies scored at 



A FATAL BLEMISH 821 

all against the 2nd and 4th Russian Siberians in their 
trenches encircling Liauyang during the three days 
September 1 to 3, although by the capture of Shoushan 
Oyama had secured valuable and elevated positions for 
his guns. The frontal attack completely failed to pene- 
trate the Russian defences, and nothing but Kuropatkin's 
order for retreat handed over these positions to the 
Japanese. 

But besides the three army corps in position on the 
southern front at the opening of the battle, Kuropatkin 
had under his hand rather more than four other corps 
and three divisions of Cossacks. The use he made of 
this important reserve, representing the largest part 
of his army, is fair matter for criticism. Three of these 
army corps, less the 54th Division detached to the 
Yentai Mines, he concentrated about Liauyang — one, 
the 17th, he placed north of the river on his left, while 
the cavalry protected his flanks, both Mishchenko and 
SamsonofF having been allotted duties of a strictly 
defensive character which had nothing in consonance 
with the genius of a mounted force. 

Kuropatkin never seems to have reckoned upon the 
passage of the Taitse by the First Army, although it 
may fairly be said that for weeks previous to the battle 
this stroke had been expected by every one': who was 
following the incidents of the campaign vnth close atten- 
tion. He apparently judged that the Japanese passion 
for tactics of a drastic order would lead them to hurl 
themselves upon his southern front, and that then, 
when they were thoroughly exhausted, he would let 
slip his reserve and complete their discomfiture. But 
for Kuroki's march, this anticipation might conceivably 
have been realised. 

This failure to reckon with the obvious course which 
would present itself to the Japanese was a fatal blemish 
in Kuropatkin's dispositions. There was no necessity 
for the massing of three army corps round Liauyang ; 
there was none for the establishment of the 17th Corps 
in a defensive position round Hsikwantun, while the 

21 



822 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

allotment of a purely infantry r6le to the Cossacks was 
a very grave blunder. A single army corps as a general 
reserve for the three holding the southern front was more 
than enough : a division was ample to hold Liauyang 
and the second line defences, so long as Shoushan held 
firm ; in the flanking positions north of the river 
only guns with an escort of infantry were required; 
Mishchenko's r6le among the kaoliang and villages 
west of Shoushan should have been abandoned to the 
volunteer scouts and railway guards, and this would 
have sufficed to meet all probable contingencies ; finally, 
the order to SamsonofFto stand fast and hold the Yentai 
Mines, presuming this precaution was necessary at all, 
which IS doubtful, would have better been confided 
to Orloff, whose troops were best suited for a purely 
defensive action. 

There is absolutely no reason why Kuropatkin 
should not have completely satisfied all the most 
exacting requirements of the pure defensive and still 
have retained a mobile reserve in his hand of from two 
to three army corps and the whole of his available 
Cossacks, and have used all this missile force in such 
direction as circumstances, or his own inspiration, might 
have dictated. 

The failure to use mounted troops in their proper 
rdle led up directly to the final defeat. Kuroki was 
permitted to bridge and cross the Taitse without oppo- 
sition, whereas he should have been watched and fallen 
upon by the whole of the Cossacks in the field on the 
first symptom of his movement. The Cossacks were 
chained to positions, and their mobility was absolutely 
nullified. The 12th Japanese Division could have 
been, and should have been, opposed, surrounded, and 
harassed from the moment it set foot on the north bank 
of the river, and the mobile reserve of two or three 
army corps should then have marched at once to cnish 
this important movement before it began to gather 
headway. There is no reason why Kuropatkin should 
not have attacked Kuroki with a superiority of three to 



KUROPATKIN'S STRATEGY 328 

one at the very least, and all fresh troops, during the 
days and nights of September 1, 2, and 8. Neither 
Bilderling nor Samsonoff took any steps at all when 
Kuroki was reported on the northern bank ; the con- 
tingency had not been * anticipated, no measures had 
been designed to meet it, and the initiative of sub- 
ordinates foiled to atone for the want of imagination of 
the supreme commander. 

W^en Kuroki's movement was reported to Kuro- 
patkin he had two alternatives to select from. He 
could attack Kuroki and hold the southern armies, or 
he could take the contrary course. The exhaustion and 
the failure of the southern armies made an impetuous 
attack upon them by a fresh reserve, aided by a general 
advance of the whole Russian line, an operation not 
without serious chances of success at dawn on Septem- 
ber 1. It was possible for Kuropatkin to have collected 
sufficient troops to check Kuroki's march while this 
movement was in progress. It was also possible for the 
Russian commander to continue to hold his position 
south of the river and oppose Kuroki with superior 
forces ; in this case the employment of fresh troops 
drawn from the 2nd, 4th, 5tn, and 17th Army Corps 
and the Cossacks was clearly indicated. 

Kuropatkin decided to attack Kuroki, and it is pro- 
bable that his ignorance of the strength of the Japanese 
First Army and the threatening direction of its move- 
ment went for much in his decision. Having made up 
his mind to this stroke, Kuropatkin further decided upon 
a course which can with difficulty be justified — namely, 
to abandon the position on the southern hills, to restrict 
himself on this side to the defence of Liauyang, and to 
use troops that had been already severely tried by several 
days of arduous fighting in his effort against Kuroki. 

The evacuation of Shoushan and adjacent positions 
produced moral results that might have been anticipated. 
The Japanese army, from the veteran marshal down- 
wards, thought that victory was won, while the Russians 
were disheartened by the thought that once more all 



324 THE BATTLE OF LI AU YANG 

their gallantry had been useless. If the mechanical part 
of the transfer of troops to the north bank of the river 
was well performed, it is also certain that it was much 
to ask of the 1st and 8rd Siberian Army Corps, after 
all their labours and heavy losses, to participate at 
once in the action against Kuroki ; and as a matter of 
fact a Russian officer, in his account of the battle, had 
to confess as a reason for failure that " our soldiers were 
falling with fatigue and exhaustion ; their nerves failed 
to perform their duties; we were compelled to take 
into account this psychological factor*" It would have 
been preferable that account should have been taken of 
it earlier. 

Nevertheless Kuropatkin had at his disposal by 
midday on September 2, the 1st, 8rd, 5th, and 17th 
Army Corps, besides two Cossack divisions, aligned 
against Kuroki, who, the same day and hour, had but 
two divisions and one mixed brigade* The Russian 
superiority was overwhelming, and the failure of the 
Japanese gims to answer the cannonade on the afternoon 
of September 2 might have afforded some indication 
that the forces under Kuroki were not large. KurcH 
patkin might have opposed numbers superior to Kuroki 
at any day and hour from dawn on August 81 to the 
evening of September 8, but never once was a serious 
effort made to pursue relentlessly the original plan. 
The defeat of Orloff, and the imposing appearance of 
Kuroki's six-mile front, impressed the Russian leader's 
imagination, and caused him to consider the battle lost 
when victory was still within his grasp. The same 
feeling appears to have influenced General SakharoiT^ 
his Chief-of-Staff, who, in his telegram of September 2, 
after referring to the fighting at Hsikwantun, declares 
that " we unmediately nmde the discovery that we had to 
deal with a strong Japanese force with a front extending 
from the heights at the Yentai Mines to the Taitse River," 
and he describes Orloff's defeat at the hands of **a 
superior force in a strong position," whereas Orloff was 
actually beaten by a single brigade with the utmost ease. 



THE FRONTAL ATTACK 325 

Thus from first to last the Russians defended very 
well and attacked uncommonly badly ; it is not the 
inertia of a mass that wins battles, but the momentum 
of weight multiplied by velocity, the whole inspired and 
directed by a single dominating and inflexible purpose 
capable of pursuing considerable and decisive aims with 
the utmost resolution and audacity. There was no 
such purpose in Kuropatkin's conduct of the battle of 
I^iauyang. 

While, then, on the one side, there was a leader 
incapable of dominating a battlefield and always ready 
to follow his enemy's lead with submission and humility, 
there was on the other a leader and a staff imbued with 
glorious and invincible optimism, with a determination 
to attack the enemy everywhere and with every unit 
at command, and to carry through the attack to its 
uttermost consequences regardless of the sacrifices it 
might entail. Forces so differently led and inspired 
were indeed ill-matched. The difference of inspiration 
was profound, and it was obviously accentuated by 
the long series of Russian defeats which had caused 
the Japanese to reckon themselves invincible, and the 
Russians to become accustomed to retreats. 

It is doubtful whether any European commander 
would have attempted the frontal attack at Liauyang ; 
it is also doubtful whether he would have anticipated 
success had he attempted it. It is probable that most 
would have ordered a retreat on the night of August 81, 
when every unit had been engaged and not a point had 
been scored. The tenacity of the Japanese under these 
depressing circumstances, and the unconquerable resolu- 
tion of commanders to refuse to accept defeat in any 
guise, must be regarded as a model of action essentially 
Japanese, and one that should never in future be absent 
from the mind of troops and leaders similarly circum- 
stanced. It is but another reading of the old adage, 
** Do not go away, then the enemy will go away." 

It is not possible to allege that this frontal attack 
had no result upon the course of the action, even though 



826 THE BATTLE OF LIAUYANG 

success was not directly obtained. For the combat 
dusure^ half-measures, and finikin tactics of finesse, 
influence but little the resolution of a warlike enemy. 
The result of the frontal attack was to wear out and 
render incapable of any further serious effort the three 
Russian army corps immediately exposed to the rough 
treatment of the Japanese. Moreover, part at least of 
the general reserve was drawn towards the threatened 
front ; the enemy was not beaten, but he was shaken, 
his resolution affected, and his arrangements disordered. 
The valour of the Second and Fourth Armies was not 
expended in pure waste. 

But if the Japanese numbers were, on the whole, 
inadequate for the complete success of the very ambitious 
plan which had been conceived, then it became all the 
more necessary that, when the decisive attack was 
launched, this attack should be able to proceed un- 
checked and to execute its mission in a rapid and 
implacable fashion. It was necessary that tne sub- 
orainate should be sacrificed to the essential, and, as 
the Japanese could not be strong everywhere, that 
everything else should give way to the success of 
Kuroki's movement In this respect the Japanese plan 
of battle failed. Only a single division crossed the river 
on the night of August 80, and even by September 2 
there were but two divisions and a half north of the 
I'aitse. 

It was not possible to anticipate complete success 
with such meagre numbers. The Japanese Headquarter 
Staff should, at least, have enabled Kuroki to act with 
his united army. Had they done so a very much 
greater success would almost undoubtedly have been 
obtained, and, even if the containing attack from the 
south had been thereby somewhat weakened, there 
would still have been nothing to prevent it from 
carrying out the true mission which devolved upon it 
with the desirable energy, while it would still have been 
strong enough, if properly disposed, to resist any counter- 
offensive th^t Kuropaticin might have been able to 



KUROKFS TACTICS 327 

launch against it. The chances always were that, once 
Kuroki's attack developed, the direction and threatening 
character attaching to it would attract against it every 
man Kuropatkin could spare. 

Given the wholly inadequate force with which he 
proceeded upon his task, Kuroki managed his action 
m a brilliant and highly successful manner. It was 
necessary that his force should impose upon the enemy, 
as it could not crush him, and, weak as ne was, Kuroki 
not only contrived to cover a front of six miles and to 
threaten the line of communications in such manner as 
to cause Kuropatkin grave anxiety, but also managed 
to concentrate parts of his force for a series of impetuous 
attacks by day and night, demolishing OrlofF on the 
right and alarming Stackelberg, driving off SamsonofF, 
and effecting the capture of Haiyentai in the face of the 
whole strength of the 17 th Army Corps. No troops 
and no commander could, under the circumstances, 
have done more or done better. 



CHAPTER XXVIir 

THE GERMANS AT SEA 

Russia has had to suffer many a misfortune in the 
course of the past six months ; not the least of them 
was to have incurred the military advice of Germany. 
The domination of Berlin in the realms of military 
thought has proved nothing but a disadvantage to the 
Russian Empire, which would have done better to have 
turned a deaf ear to all the interested promptings fix>m 
this quarter and to have planned her campaign without 
their aid, and in accordance with Russian spirit and 
traditions, based on a better knowledge of the Far 
East than German soldiers and publicists appear to 
possess. 

It is curious to look back to old files of German 
newspapers published in the weeks preceding the war, 
and to observe the totally false views of the whole 
situation which were either entertained out of down- 
right ignorance or assumed from motives of policy. 
Russia received great encouragement thereby, and per- 
sisted in the line of impolicy she had adopted, despite 
all the warnings of the British press. When war came, 
the most authorised exponent of German military views 
made a calculation as to the rate of reinforcement of 
the Army of Manchuria, and put forward figures which, 
had they proved accurate, would have given General 
Kuropatkin a field army of 400,000 men by this date. 
We had to observe at the time that the calculation of 

* From The Time^ of September 13, 1904. 
328 



THE NATION Ah^ZEITUNG 329 

the Mititdr Wochenblatt was devoid of value, since it 
was obviously a mere school exercise, drawn up without 
recognition of many important factors. 

Nothing was more pathetic than the complaint of 
the Russian press, after the first defeats, that the 
reason for these disasters was inexplicable, since the 
Russian plans were drawn up in accordance with 
German views, and had received the cordial apprecia- 
tion of German professors of the art of war. What 
was not recognised was that German military criticism 
had fallen into the hands of men without any practical 
experience of war, than whom no advisers can be 
blinder or more dangerous guides. 

What is the salve that Germany now offers to the 
wounded prestige of Russia, and how do the German 
oracles, who foretold that Oyama would assuredly be 
defeated, explain away their very inaccurate prophecies ? 
It is quite an interesting study to examine this side of 
the question. The National- Zeitung expresses, as we 
know, the views of the German Government upon 
occasion, and its words therefore carry such weight as 
we may attach to their opinions. Of course, says this 
journal in effect, Russia will go on. Such a great Tsar, 
such a mighty military Empire, is not going to be 
beaten by these wretched Japanese. Next year Russia 
will assemble another great army, and the result of the 
campaign of 1905 will be very different — very different 
indeed. But, in case Kuropatkin should make any mis- 
take, the National' Zeitung lays down the correct line 
of advance for this new army. It is to march from 
Vladivostok upon Korea, and, when it has thrust itself 
into this open sack, the Japanese are not, of course, at 
all likely to close the mouth and puH the strings. The 
new army is to march over a nearly impassable and 
quite roadless country, devoid of supplies, mto a penin- 
sula where there are no Japanese to speak of, in order 
to attack communications which do not exist ; and then, 
for all the National- Zeitung cares, this Russian army, 
inspired with its German spirit, can run violently down 



330 THE GERMANS AT SEA 

the steep places of Fusan into the sea and perish in the 
waters. Such is the alluring prospect held out by the 
Gadarene strategists of Berhn. 

The joys of a march in North-Eastem Korea have 
been recently described by Captain Eletse, of the 
Russian Guards, in the pages of the Novoe Vremya, 
This officer was on General Rennenkampf s staff, whose 
mission earlier in the war in this district we ventured 
to describe at the time as an aimless ramble. Captain 
Eletse's experiences were unpleasant; there were no 
roads to speak of, there were no supplies, neither was 
there any forage. The Cossacks eked out their in- 
frequent rations by roots and berries, while the Cossack 
ponies quietly starved ; but, as Captain Eletse declares 
that the latter had little endurance to start with and 
that most of them had been taken out of the shafts, 
their loss was perhaps not a great disaster. Altogether 
the district appears to be very unsuitable for the 
purposes of the new army, and, as this line of advance 
will have the sea on one flank, and eventually on both, 
and leaves the Japanese army in the rear, it requires all 
the hardihood of German suggestion to propose it. 

But, if we hark back a few months, this sage advice 
of the German organ appears in a somewhat different 
light Can we not all recall the naive confession of 
intense relief, the paean of joy, which the National- 
Zeitung so unguardedly uttered when the die was cast 
in February last ? The argument then was that the 
fearful nightmare of a war on two fronts, which had 
haunted the mind of every intelligent German for years 

East, was removed. It was Russia who was now cursed 
y the dread spectre, and the German organ did not fail 
to point out the intense relief afforded by the fact. 

When France and England discovered that the 
almost trivial points which divided them were capable 
of arrangement by mutual goodwill and mutual con- 
cessions, the Bismarckian pohcy had lived, and no organ 
of the German Press was more alive to the fact than 
the National'Zeitung. The purely military gain of 



GERMAN ENCOURAGEMENT 881 

France from this arrangement was immense. France 
had no hope whatever of carrying on successful war in 
Europe without a free sea, and only friendship with 
England could secure it. It was the free sea that 
enabled her to carry on a great patriotic struggle for 
so long against Prussia when the Imperial army was 
struck down. Every page of the inquiry after the war 
makes the fact manifest. Thanks to the renewal of 
cordial relations with England and Italy, the military 
situation in France has inunensely improved. There 
are 200,000 men allotted by the French plans of 
mobilisation to coast defence, and the greater part of 
these are set free. There are 100,000 French troops 
over-sea in colonies and dependencies : these also are now 
available, and all the resources of these possessions are 
at the disposal of France in time of war. Lastly, the 
magnificent army of the Alps, not less than 250,000 
strong, is no longer chained to the Italian frontier. It 
is therefore correct to say that the wise policy of 
M. Delcass^ has added half a million men to the French 
army at the decisive point — wherever that may be — 
and has done more for the security of France than all 
the military reforms of the preceding decade. 

In these circumstance the Far-Eastern adventure 
of Russia was indeed glad tidings of great joy to the 
General Staff at Berlin, promising as it did to engage 
the whole military attention of Russia for many years, 
to damage her prestige and weaken her resources, 
restoring once more to Germany the hope of acquiring 
that hegemony in Western Europe to which she had 
aspired. It became a German interest to assist and 
encourage Russia in her distant enterprise by every 
means that would keep within the four comers of a 
very superficial neutrality, and, if the Admiral of the 
Pacific was driven from the sea allotted to him by 
Berlin, and his ships were turned into scrap iron, the 
Admiral of the Atlantic gained nothing but profit ; in 
Northern Europe, at least, the German navy was ex- 
pected to reign supreme. 



382 THE GERMANS AT SEA 

The control of many organs of so-called public 
opinion abroad by Berlin enables Germany continuously 
to pervert British views, and to place them before 
Russian readers in the most unfavourable light No 
mistake could be greater than to suppose Englishmen 
desire to see Russia bled to death in this war, or that 
they have any feelings of hostility towards the Russian 
people. On the contrary, if Russia, after an honourable 

Eeace with Japan, would only abandon once and for all 
er aggressive policy in Asia, respect the integrity of 
China and other states, and enter into an agreement 
with us as her ally has done, we should wish her well, 
and the two countries would become fast friends, to 
their very great and mutual advantage. The weakening 
of Russian military power in Europe to the point of 
exhaustion on sea and land is no military interest of 
ours, since it tends to upset the balance of power in the 
West, and history shows that, when any Power aspires 
to he^mony in Western Europe, and attains to it, our 
hostility follows as a matter of course. The histories 
of Philip of Spain, of Louis XIV., and of Napoleon are 
there to point the moral which none can miss. 

German military advice throughout this war has 
been consistently wrong; it has not been worth the 
paper on which it has been printed. The whole of the 
world-famous great General Staff has been completely 
at fault — all, at least, save Meckel, who was almost alone 
in his firm belief in Japanese success. He was the only 
man who knew, and no one in Germany listened to 
him. We have heard a good deal of Count von Pfeil 
during the war, and we have been compelled to listen 
to his tales in the Lokalanzeiger foretelling the doom 
of the Japanese, and concluding by the bald statement 
that Oyama at Liauyang would infallibly be defeated. 
" Port Arthur," declared this shining light of the General 
Staff, " will hold out against the Japanese, and Oyama 
in a short time will be beaten by Kuropatkin in the 
decisive battle. That is my firm conviction." We had, 
indeed, to sound a warning that these prophecies ne^ 



LINIEVITCH 888 

cause us no disquiet. It is curious to see how this high 
authority escapes from the dilemma in which he now 
finds himself. It is quite simple. Kuropatkin, he says, 
trusted to the aid of Linievitch, and it was entirely 
owing to the failure of Linievitch to come up that the 
battle was lost. Our mentor might as truly have said 
that Jena and Auerstadt were lost because the Prussian 
garrison of Konigsberg did not attack Napoleon or 
Davoust. 

Linievitch has a separate command in the Maritime 
Province, with frontiers elaborately mapped out by 
the Viceroy and all railways and waterways carefully 
partitioned off, so that there may be no jealousy. He 
has charge of Vladivostok, the last foothold of Russia 
on the Pacific, other than points which will fall when- 
ever the Japanese care to attack them, and has only the 
8th, and perhaps one other. East Siberian Division, some 
fortress troops, and Cossacks, besides possibly a few 
Siberian regiments and the Orenburg Cossack Division, 
which have not yet been located. Vladivostok may 
now be attacked at any hour, and it is not the moment 
when Linievitch can profitably march away with his 
troops ; moreover, he is 500 miles from the scene of 
battle as the crow flies, or 700 by railway. To accuse 
Linievitch of any share of responsibihty in the defeat at 
Liauyang is the most ridiculous piece of nonsense to which 
even German military criticism has hitherto descended. 

It would be interesting to know what the German 
military attache with Kuropatkin has to say about the 
events of the past six months. At the beginning of 
the war this officer gave his views to a correspondent 
of the Eclair, which has a curious practice of reflecting 
German views. " The value of the Japanese army," 
declared this accomplished officer, *' has been greatly 
exaggerated." "It was impossible," he added, "for 
any one thoroughly acquainted with the two forces 
to doubt the superiority of the Russians." He believed 
that there would be no battle of* any consequence before 
August, when " the Russian victories will certainly cool 



884 THE GERMANS AT SEA 

the ardour of the Japanese and brinff the war to a 
speedy close." During the deplorable incidents of the 
retreat from Liauyang this officer will have had time 
to weigh his opinions, and we can hardly doubt that 
his new experience of war will be of great professional 
advantage to him and to the Far Eastern section of the 
ffreat Greneral Staff, which stands in obvious need of 
drastic reforms. 

Of other Germans at the front, Colonel Gadke is 
the best-quoted, and perhaps the most intelligent Like 
all his compatriots, he has, of course, been dead out of 
reckoning. Scarcely a single forecast he has made has 
been verified by events. At the same time we cannot 
avoid a certain regard for Gadke, since his manner of 
evading the Russian censor is quite a model of in- 
genuity, while his happy turn of phrase is very original 
and quaint. The German colonel, though a most in- 
different prophet, is a shrewd judge of what passes 
under his eyes, and his skill in hoodwinking the censor 
is remarkable. His story, some little time ago, that 
Kuropatkin, with forty battalions, had advanced frt)m 
Tashinchiao and had recaptured the Taling by a glorious 
attack was allowed to pass, as are all accounts of Russian 
victories. Gadke probably trusted to his readers to 
discount the victory and to hold fast to the information 
that Kuropatkin and the main body of the army were 
at Tashihchiao, information which was decidedly of 
importance at the time it was sent. His description of 
the perversity of Russian positions in Manchuria, which, 
he says, are enormously strong when first reconnoitred 
and become dreadfully weak when occupied by the 
Russian army, was also a ponderous sarcasm that the 
censor could not understand and so allowed to pass. 
Gadke seems, in short, to constitute himself the faithful 
chronicler of events that he sees and of opinions that he 
hears, and if, very often, he seems to be extraordinarily 
short-sighted and misinformed, he not improbably re- 
flects, and deliberately reflects, the views prevailing in 
the army around him. 



THE SYSTEM OF DECORATIONS 385 

All German opinions concerning the future are so 
totally devoid of serious value that we wonder what has 
become of the great school of Moltke. Was Meckel, 
and is now the Japanese army, the last depository of 
its secrets? To those who have kept their finger on 
the pulse of foreign armies during recent years, the 
decadence of German military criticism comes by no 
means as a surprise. Certain Western armies began to 
lose something of their fine point in the early nineties 
of last century ; a long peace and the wearisome round 
of barrack-yard routme produced their inevitable 
results. 

One minor point upon which we may lightly touch 
is the question of decorations, which may seem trivial, 
but is less so than it seems. Nothing causes more as- 
tonishment to the insular Briton when travelling abroad 
than to see individuals, of all ranks and professions, 
including policemen, appearing at state functions with 
rows upon rows of medals and decorations, upon which 
all the animals that took refuge with Noah in the Ark, 
and some others, are successively represented. Many, 
if not most, of the recipients are known to be persons of 
peaceable pursuits, and nearly all have seen nothing of 
war. Rewards which a wise policy would confine to 
those who risk their lives and tneir health on the field 
of battle — for they are, in all conscience, cheap enough 
in return for such services — are prodigally scattered 
amongst courtiers, placemen, and tuft-hunters of all 
classes and all sexes. This system, founded on a 
correct knowledge of the illimitable vanity of human 
nature, is a lapse from sense. If officers, whose sole 
ambition should be success in arms, find that they can 
become resplendent and can gratify all their vanity by 
Jubilee parades, attendance upon foreign potentates, 
and other duties savouring of the courtier, the police- 
man, or the lackey, the greatest incentive to pro- 
fessional study and to participation in active service is 
lost. No officer in uniform should be permitted, at any 
time, to wear decorations not won by actual presence 



886 THE GERMANS AT SEA 

and good service on the field of battle, and wise M'^ill 
be the head of the state and his advisers, whether in 
Germany or elsewhere, who returns to that healthy 
tradition. 

When British officers visited foreign mancBuvres 
they certainly found much to learn, particularly in 
mass movements and staff work; but the tactics ap- 
peared more suitable for other arms and other ages 
than for the conditions of to-day. Those British officers 
who learnt Russian and exiled themselves to complete 
their knowledge of the language found little indeed in 
Russian military literature to tempt them to prosecute 
their studies. Russia was behind Central Europe, and 
the latter, again, was already out of date. 

For all these reasons the touching confidence of the 
Russian people and of the Russian General Staff in 
Grerman advice and opinion appears to be somewhat 
misplaced. All the mistakes Russia has committed in 
the realm of politics and of war on sea and land have 
been pointed out in The Titnes^ and in other organs of 
British and American opinion, long before the effects 
followed the causes ; in ample time, indeed, for Russia 
to have recovered her positions and to have escaped her 
disasters, had she paid the slightest heed to the warn- 
ings given to her. Even in this culminating disaster of 
Liauyang, we long ago pointed out the risk of employ- 
ing reserve troops against such an enemy as Japan, 
but the rout of Orloff 's division of the 5th Corps was 
required to drive the point home. The conduct of the 
6th Corps, we are told, provokes violent criticism. That 
is most unfair, since the composition of these militia 
elements never justified their employment at the front, 
and it is only the conduct of the Russian War Office 
that calls for animadversion. 

We showed that the attack on the southern front of 
Kuropatkin's position would fall on his left, as proved 
to be the case, and we described Kuroki's passage of 
the Taitse and his probable action against the Russian 
rear a month before it occurred. We also ventured to 



WARNING AND ADVICE 337 

warn the Russian commander that he did not yet 
understand the military value of the Japanese army, 
even if he knew its numbers. Could Russians best 
friend do more ? We were inflicting no injury upon our 
ally in these forecasts, since autocracy and all its agents 
conspire to keep the Russians in the dark, and it was 
certain that everything calculated to inform and en- 
lighten the Russian people would be blacked out of the 
columns of The Times by the censor, and that the 
latter was not likely to be an individual with the 
capacity of understanding either the military or any 
other situation. Summing up all this side of the 
question, our advice to Russia would be to pay no 
more attention to German opinion, unless she desires 
that worse things may befall her and her French ally 
than yet have happened. 



22 



CHAPTER XXIX ^ 

ITAR AND FINANCE 

The cost of modern war is not light, and when the 
campaign is fought out 5,000 miles from the heart 
of an empire it is not lightened. 

We kiiow to our cost that we cannot maintain 
300,000 men in the field in South Africa at a less 
expenditure than a million and a quarter a week, even 
given the business aptitudes of our people and the almost 
unimpeachable honesty of all branches of the adminis- 
tration. What is the war costing Russia and Japan ? 

As regards our ally, considerations of finance have 
from the first received as close attention as the armed 
forces of the State themselves. Iron and gold weigh 
equally in military scales, and it is the particular merit 
of Japan that she has prepared herself to face a long 
and arduous struggle, not only by intelligent use of 
army and navy, but also by the most economical gestion 
of her national resources. Those acquainted with the 
financiers of modem Japan beheve them to be as 
accomplished in their branch, and as efficient, as the 
fighting services are in theirs. The annual expenditure 
of Japan amounts to £25,000,000 sterling in a normal 
year ; her debt at the outbreak of war was only 
£56,000,000, and but a part of this was held abroad. 
Russia, on the other hand, has a budget showing 
£•232,000,000 on the side of expenditure, and a debt 
of £707,851,930, requiring an annual payment of 

' From The Times of September 15, 1904. 
338 



JAPAN'S WAR EXPENSES 339 

£31,000,000— the so-called *'gold subsidy" — of which 
at least £20,000,000 have to be paid annually to foreign 
bankers, mainly French, since France holds at least 
one-half of the Russian debt. The Russian budget 
shows an expenditure of £l 17.y. per head of population; 
that of Japan about 10*. The Japanese army costs 
about £4,000,000 a year ; that of Russia ten times as 
much. The Japanese navy costs £3,000,000 a year; 
that of Russia four times the amount. If the successes 
of Japan represent a great military achievement, they 
are also a financial marvel. 

If it be objected that, in the recent loan raised 
abroad, Japan consented to very onerous terms, it must 
be recalled that the arrangements were practically con- 
cluded before the first collision between the land forces, 
and that, until Japan had proved herself a match for 
Russia on shore, it was only natural that foreign 
financiers should hesitate to commit themselves except 
on their own terms. 

The last war with China cost Japan £30,000 a day, 
and, in view of the greater effort of the present cam- 
paign, it is calculated that she is now spending £100,000 
daily, or, roughly speaking, £3,000,000 a month. 
During the war with China the total expenditure 
from June, 1894, to November, 1896, amounted to 
200,475,508 yen, of which only 35,955,137 yen were 
on account of the navy. This expenditure was met 
by 116,804,926 yen subscribed to public loans and by 
78,957,165 yen from the indemnity fund, besides some 
small private contributions, receipts from the occupied 
territories, and the Treasury surplus. The ifiaximum 
monthly expenditure at the height of the war never 
reached 20,000,000 yen, and the average daily cost 
during 1894 and 1895 works out to the figure already 
given, the yen being taken at 2.v. O^rf. 

The daily average of £100,000 is necessarily only 
an approximation, and will obviously be subject to 
expansion or contraction with the ebb and flow of 
the tide of success, and with the increase or decrease 



340 WAR AND FINANCE 

of ilumbers in the field. It is probable that during the 
last few weeks, when Japan has placed over 300,000 
men in the field, and has made such a considerable 
effort, the figure has been exceeded. It may also be 
observed that practically nothing is known in Europe 
concerning the Japanese plans for the creation of 
reserve field armies with the aid of the very numerous 
trained men that have been passed through the ranks, 
and thftt, should the occasion appear to demand it, a 
much larger number of men can be drawn forward to 
the theatre of war than any estimates hitherto published 
would seeM to indicate. Such supplementary mobilisa- 
tidtl on a large scale would naturally entail a corre- 
sponding ihcrease of expense, but there is nothing as 
yet to indicate any serious, or, at all events, fatal defect 
in the general plan of campaign, or consequently any 
immediate need to draw heavily upon these reserves of 
strength. Moreover, modern organisation, as Japan 
understands it, provides a great number of men who 
ineur the liability, but escape the actual duty, of colour 
service. In Japan, thesle men, who are allocated to 
certain categories of the reserve, but are not trained 
soldiers, have been called upon to serve as coolies, and 
a human transport corps has been created, which costs 
the country nothing but its rations and its infinitesimal 
pay. 

Every coolie employed by Russia in Manchuria 
costs hard cash, and in time of war the cost of labour, 
other, of course, than the coi^de, amounts to foiir or 
five times the figure of times of peace. It is not 
prudent to resort to forced labour when an army 
depends so largely upon the goodwill, or at least the 
passive neutrality, of a native population ; nor can 
coolie labour be dispensed with in a motmtainous 
district, if the military administration has not foreseen 
and provided an adequate transport corps of its own. 

For these reasons, amongst others, Russia will 
necessarily incur greater expense upon the theatre of 
operations than Japan, while her Une of operations 



THE DRAIN ON RUSSIA 341 

is immensely longer, and consequently more costly to 
maintain. It is true that the Trans-Siberian is a 
government undertaking, and that the cost of transport 
will not represent all that visible drain upon the 
Treasury that ours had to bear for the hiring of ships 
and demurrage. But the wear and tear will be very 
great, and the indispensable expenditure upon rolling 
stock, rails, and the up-keep or improvement of the 
permanent way will be very heavy. Again, the mobilisa- 
tion of the Baltic squadron, whether it results in a cruise 
to the East or not, entails heavy outlays, as does the 
purchase of potential cruisers in Germany and their 
equipment and supply, while in many other directions 
expenditure will mount up, probably with excessive 
rapidity, owing to the dishonesty of Russian methods 
of administration. 

Russia has invested a great many millions sterling 
in her Pacific squadron which hardly seem destined to 
pay much interest. She is not only faced with the task 
of practically rebuilding a fleet, but also has to bear the 
cost of raising and maintaining troops at home to take 
the place of those sent out to the East. Almost every 
week there are fresh calls upon reserves to take the 
places of troops despatched to the front. Since the 
war began six army corps have also been successively 
mobilised to reinforce the army in Manchuria, and 
every day the cost of this army grows, and incidental 
expenditure of all kinds increases in volume. So long 
as only Boxers were to be encountered, the Russians 
could pretend they had 200,000 men in the field, and 
could charge the Chinese with the cost of their main- 
tenance at the settlement, in the manner exposed in 
March, 1904, by the Peking correspondent of The 
Times. It did not matter then, in a military sense, 
that not one-quarter of these numbers were really 
present ; but it does matter now, and Russians have 
to bear the cost in the long run, even if foreign 
countries find the money for the moment. 

M. Ldvy, the French financial authority, calculated 



342 WAR AND FINANCE 

in June, 1904, that the direct additional cost of the war to 
Russia was between £6,000,000 and £7,000,000 sterling 
a month. The strain has been largely increased during 
the past three months owing to disasters on land and 
sea, and we shall be well within the mark if we estimate 
the cost of the war to Russia at £8,000,000 a month for 
the maintenance of 800,000 men in the field in East 
Asia, and the execution of all measures of preparation 
in the West. If larger numbers are drawn forward, or 
even only concentrated in rear, west of Baikal, a corre- 
sponding increase of expenditure will undoubtedly 
follow. 

This figure is certainly a moderate estimate, and 
it is thought by some authorities entitled to respect 
that it should be put very much higher. What per- 
centage of the sum expended is never applied to the 
purposes for which it is granted no one can say, but 
the irregularities of the Russian administration are so 
notorious that it is probably high. When Russian 
authorities of high standing can charge their govern- 
ment Math the cost of the best Welsh steam c^, and 
ship inferior Japanese, making thousands on the trans- 
action, everything becomes possible — everything, at least, 
except naval efficiency. 

Russian finance is a much too tangled skein for any 
one to unravel who is not to the manner bom ; yet 
certain things are known which are interesting as indica- 
tions. The last Russian bank return at the outbreak of 
war showed £74,500,000 sterling in gold in reserve and 
£17,750,000 at call abroad, or a total of £92,000,000. As 
against this there was, up to that time, a total note issue 
of £68,000,000, which, according to the rules hitherto 
enforced by ukase, required a gold backingof £88,000,000, 
since notes up to the limit of £60,000,000 have to be 
covered by 50 per cent, in gold, and above that number 
in full. According to the most trustworthy information 
based upon Russian data, the State Bank quite recently 
held £95,000,000 sterling in gold in reserve or at call 
abroad, whilst the note issue amounted to £77,000,000, 



RUSSIAN FINANCE 343 

which required on the same principle a gold backing of 
£47,000,000, and still left power to effect a legitimate 
note issue of £48,000,000 altogether. 

When hostilities broke out, three means existed for 
increasing to any great extent the financial resources for 
the prosecution of war, other than internal economies, 
which could not effect much, and have mainly resulted 
in a large increase of the unemployed. Loans, internal 
and external, could be raised, or fresh issues of notes 
could be made, unbacked by gold reserves ; finally, 
taxation could be increased and expenditure diminished. 
All three means were certain in the long run to depre- 
ciate Russian stocks and Russian credit. Financial 
authorities felt sure that no loan would be raised abroad, 
and in this event Russia appeared to possess the financial 
power of carrying on the war for six months by the 
process of note issue against gold reserves, under the 
provisions of existing ukases. If Russia had felt any 
certainty of compassing the defeat of her enemy with 
300,000 men, and within these limits of time, she would 
probably have aligned herself with the opinions of 
financial expei-ts. and have scouted the idea of a 
foreign loan. But if she foresaw, on the other hand, no 
certain issue of the struggle, and decided that, after the 
exhaustion of legitimate paper issues, she would either 
have to approach lenders in fwind pauperis or issue 
paper without metal backing, it was natural that she 
should go to the foreign market first and drink at that 
well as long as the water lasted, leaving herself the home 
supply as a last resort when all other mams of raising 
money failed. 

From a military point of view, which is all we are 
here concerned with, that was sound financial strategy, 
as it reserved to herself the metal, and even increased it, 
while leaving to the foreign bondholder the pleasure of 
paying the cost not only of the war, but of the deprecia- 
tion of Russian credit which was certain to follow 
unsuccessful, or even long-continued, war. Russian 
defeats caused the negotiators of the recent loan to close 



844 WAR AND FINANCE 

quickly with the foreign bankers, for fear that worse 
might befall and the terms become more onerous. 
Rumours of fresh loans are already in the air, and the 
war will probably continue for just so long as France 
can bear the strain, or Germany can be induced to take 
up the burden, should it prove excessive for French 
shoulders. 

The French view appears to be that Russia can carry 
on for another few months from the present date by the 
help of the £82,000,000 of French money, and that then 
she will probably go to the German bankers, having 
secured their support by bribing the German Govern- 
ment with the favourable commercial treaty which was 
concluded by M. Witte with Count von Biilow last 
July. In this case we are bound to observe that the 
same two Powers that deprived Japan of the fruits of 
her victory in 1894 by the machinery of their diplomacy 
will have entered the lists on Russia's side under the 
thin disguise of a financial syndicate, as Germany has 
already done in the guise of a ship-broker, and that it 
will be then legitimate for the group of Powers whose 
cause Japan champions to take corresponding action and 
back theu: fancy in a similar way. Thus we shall all be 
engaged in war by proxy. What the reflex action of 
such procedure may be upon the money markets of the 
world no one, perhaps, can fully gauge, but it will 
decidedly offer no hope of any improvement in the 
somewhat gloomy situation of to-day. Practically the 
nations affording financial support to one combatant or 
the other are themselves taking part in the war in an 
unofficial manner ; and, if their governments intervene 
to encourage bankers to pursue their present course, 
fatal as it seems to the real interests of the world's 
commerce, the intervention assumes an official character, 
and for practical purposes becomes identical with an 
alliance backed by subsidies. Is this really what Europe 
and America desire or intend ? 

It is too early to estimate the economic residts of 
the war upon the internal situation of the two empires* 



CAUSE AND EFFECT 845 

since so much depends upon the duration of hostilities 
and their result. But there is this to be considered, 
that the exports and imports of Japan during the first 
eight months of 1904 show a remarkable increase over 
the corresponding period of 1903, itself a bumper year, 
and that in Russia the reverse has occurred. The 
Japanese official returns disclose that for the eight 
months ended on August 31 last the foreign trade shows 
a surplus over the corresponding months of 1908 of 
19,000,000 yen (£1,900,000). This, despite the fact 
that shipping entering and clearing in Japanese bottoms 
has fallen away, owing to the demands of military 
transport over-sea. 

In Manchuria prices have naturally risen enormously, 
while in Russia itself there is evidence of increasing 
dearness in articles of primary necessity. There is a 
great restriction of credit and a desire on all sides to 
accumulate and hoard metal. On all sides, also, we 
hear of employers reducing the hours of labour and, 
with them, wages. Diminution of wages reacts in the 
form of diminution of demand, and consequently of pro- 
duction. If the war continues for long, if many more 
troops have to be sent out, and particularly if military 
disasters recur, confidence will steadily diminish and the 
crisis become more acute. If the somewhat privileged 
situation of Russia allows her to escape the danger of 
a sudden, very acute, and very damaging crisis, the war 
has certainly a serious and notable influence upon all 
classes, and Russia's complaint that her present troubles 
are due to speculators hardly appears to take into account 
the ine\itable concordance between cause and effect. 
V\'e have had to notice the same failure to grasp the 
essential conditions of affairs in the realms of Russian 
diplomacy and strategy ; the policy, therefore, is all of 
a piece. 

Thanks to the great work of MM. Wyschnegradsky 
and VVitte, Russia was better prepared financially than 
in other respects to confront a long war. The Bank of 
Russia, from the point of view of metallic resources, 



346 WAR AND FINANCE 

was in a stronger situation than in any other similar 
establishment in the world. Yet Russian credit has 
gone down by one-fifth, and the loan raised some 
months ago in Paris will practically have cost Russia 
6 per cent. The large new loan which is said to be in 
contemplation in Germany will probably cost more. 

Whether France has been wise, in her own interests, 
in contributing to the finances of the war is a matter 
that mainly concerns her, and no one else. Yet some 
of her statesmen must have very serious qualms when 
they regard the vast sums that Russia has drawn firom 
French savings during the last few years, and must 
ask themselves whither this dance of millions is leading 
them. No Frenchman or German can fail to perceive 
that the ultimate enmity of the somewhat impressionable 
Japanese public is certain to follow the discovery that 
the resistance of Russia is continued by reason of 
French or German backing. The concentration of 
French hoardings in the hands of a foreign government 
carried on without serious sense of responsibility, as the 
events of this year have proved, and their employment 
upon unproductive and necessarily sterile war, seems 
a poor use for national capital, no matter what the 
result of the war may be. 

Not only is France herself less able to improve her 
own position at home and to find new outlets in the 
markets of the world, but her ally becomes less and less 
a source of strength as her resources diminish and the 
ftiture is discounted. It is bad enough to have lost 
the aid of the Russian navy, but it is much worse for 
Russia to become so exhausted as to be incapacitated 
from waging a great war for many years. The political 
danger is even greater than the financial, and both are 
serious. It is certainly a German interest that the 
war should continue indefinitely, but is it to the interest 
either of Russia or of France ? 

As for Germany, this Power, by allowing herself 
to become involved in the war as Russia's backer, has 
launched herself upon a dangerous and an inclined plane. 



WAR AND FINANCE :347 

If Japan has not taken the offensive in finance, that 
is no reason why the proposition should not be con- 
sidered in relation to national wars. Just as questions 
of the feeding of children of the poorer classes, housing, 
the physical training of the people and food supplies 
in time of war are all eventually translated by success 
or failure on the field of battle, so finance itself deserves 
a place, and a very important place, in the studies of 
what are known as defence problems. This place it 
has never obtained in England, and, until it does, we 
shall not only continue to secure less safety and stability 
in business than we ought to possess, but also lose an 
auxiliary arm which we are pre-eminently fitted to 
employ with deadly effect in favour of our allies and 
against an enemy that challenges us to battle. 



CHAPTER XXX ^ 

JAPANESE LINES OF COMMUNICATION 

The special correspondent of The Times with the 
Japanese army has recently touched on the very im- 
portant question of lines of communication, and has 
given us some instructive details on the subject. We 
have had to pay so many compliments to the direction 
of the Trans-Siberian Railway during recent months 
that it is perhaps only fitting to glance for a moment at 
the orgamsation of the rearward services of the Japanese 
army, in their turn, and to see how closely the best 
models of Europe have been followed. 

It would be difficult to over-rate the importance of 
a thoroughly modem and well-ordered system of com- 
munications, and all soldiers who have been players in 
the great and supremely fascinating game of strategy, 
or even pawns on the strategic chessboard, are well 
aware what a large share of the anxieties of a commander 
is necessarily given to these important considerations. 

So little is known of the machinery of the Japanese 
services de tarriere that it will perhaps be advisable to 
give a diagram illustrating the principles which govern 
the organisation of this highly important part of the 
militaiy organisation of our ally. 

The best means of explaining this system is to 
begin with the private soldier, and to work down 
through the various agencies of the supply service to 
the sea-base. 

> Tke Times, September 24, 19(14 
348 



•^.^ f 



Regimental Transport 




Divisional 
Columns 



R^ under repair -< 



Ctappen column 
in Mictions interchange- 
ab/e, with those of 
divisionaJ columns 



I Magazine column 

citfi/i&n under 
I military direction 

I Etappen head 

^^ Etappen dep6ts 
/ day's march apart 

> Railhead 
^Advanced Base 



1 1 R^ In working order 



Sea::Base 

Gen era f /^^\ Depot 




Maritime' 
^ J Transport Service 



Lines of Communication of a Japanese Army. 

[To jaca jhujc 3-18. 



REGIMENTAL TRANSPORT 849 

The infantry soldier in the Japanese army is as much 
overweighted as in Europe. He carries, all told, nearly 
57 lb., and it is a generally accepted principle in the 
army that man or animal can carry about one-third of 
his or its weight. 

As a rule, the Japanese private carries with him the 
day's rations and two days' emergency rations, ^^''hen 
these fail he has to fall back upon the regimental trans- 
port, which is supposed to carry never less than one 
day's supplies. 

The Japanese regimental transport consists of a 
column of pack-horses and light carts, except in the 
hills, where the military coolie corps takes its place. 
This transport is found by the train battalion of the 
division ; but it remains permanently attached to the 
regiment it serves, and is under the orders of the regi- 
mental commander. In matters of promotion, interior 
economy, and so forth, it comes under the commanding 
officer of the train. This transport is so divided up that, 
if a battalion or company is detached, a section or 
sub-section of the regimental transport accompanies the 
detachment. In case of absolute necessity the regi- 
mental transport can be pooled and allotted to other 
pressing needs, but this is rarely done, and it remains 
almost always at the service of the regiment It carries 
baggage, cooking utensils, tools, medical stores, ammu- 
nition, and litters, as well as food. 

In rear of the regimental transport there follows the 
divisional supply column with four or more days' rations. 
All corps and services are informed where this column 
will park at the end of the day's march, and from this 
point the regimental transport fills up and returns to 
the front. The divisional column is found by the 
train ; it is divided into sections, and as each section is 
emptied of supplies it drops to the rear and joins the 
so-called etappen column, which sends on one of its 
sections to take the vacant place in the divisional 
supply column. Thus the divisional and etappen 
column sections are interchangeable, and the constant 



850 JAPANESE LINES OF COMMUNICATION 

presence of supplies at the front is assured under 
ordinary conditions. 

Behind these echelons of supply there comes what 
is known as the magazine column, under military direc- 
tion, but usually formed by requisitioned transport, 
whether coolies, pack animals, or carts and horses. 
This colunm has the duty of filling up the empty 
sections of the etappen column, and the number of da3rs' 
rations carried in it varies according to circumstances. 

If the railhead is close in rear of the army, the 
magazine column fills up at this point, or similiarly 
from any dep6t on a river line favourably situated. As 
a rule, however, there is a greater or less extent of road 
between railhead and the zone of active operations, and 
along this, at intervals of one day's march, are stationed 
Etappen dep6ts, the most advanced of which is the 
etappen roadhead, where the magazine column makes 
good its deficiencies. The carriage of supplies between 
the etappen depdts is allotted to local transport, which 
remains in its own district, and works forward and back 
upon a single stage of the line. This leads to some 
waste of tissue in constant loading and unloading ; but 
the advantage of retaining the local transport in its own 
district is held to counterbalance this disadvantage. 

Alongside of these road-stages the railway, if one 
exists, is repaired ; if not, a light line is laid if possible. 
Everything is done to complete the railway up to the 
zone of active operations with the least possible delay. 
At railhead there is an advanced base, the size of which 
is entirely determined by circumstances ; while at the 
seaport there is a general depot, served from Japan by 
the maritime transport service. The whole of the line 
of communications, from the head of the etappen 
column to the sea-base inclusive, is under a general 
officer. On the army headquarters staff the second or 
sub-chief of the staff issues the instructions of the 
general in command. 

Those who are intimately acquainted with the 
organisation of foreign armies will, of course, recognise 



APPLICATION OF THE SYSTEM 851 

that there is nothing very original in all this system, 
which is much the same in principle as that adopted by 
all the Great Powers. Nevertheless, its adaptation to 
Japanese uses is one proof the more of how thoroughly 
the Japanese Staff has absorbed the best ideas of its 
foreign instructors. 

We have only outlined the general principle; the 
application varies almost infinitely. For instance, if 
there are several parallel roads or river lines leading to 
the front, all would be used, and, if more than one 
sea-base or railway are available — for example, Dalny 
and Niuchwang — both would naturally come into play. 
Again, if more than one army had to be supplied by a 
single railway and etappen line, then the working staff 
would be increased, and the size of the Echelons of the 
supply services in rear of the divisional columns would 
naturally be augmented. 

Special troops are told off to the line of communi- 
cations, and come under the command of the general 
officer above named. 

Incidentally, an examination of this system will 
make clear to the lay mind the advantage possessed 
by the army on the defensive or retiring, in matters 
of supply, since it has its railhead always in its midst 
and has no pressing need for all those organs which are 
so indispensable to an advancing and mobile army. But, 
if the general on the defensive wishes to pass to the 
attack, then, unless he has a well-stored advanced base 
and all these dchelons of mobile supplies ready to hand, 
he is tied down to the distance which he can place 
between his troops and his railhead witliout risk of 
starvation. That distance is the limit of his tether, and 
he is as much restricted to it as a browsing goat to the 
circle round its stick. 

In Manchuria the harvest this year has been so 
plenteous that considerable forces can live on the 
country except in the mountain region ; but large 
armies of 200,000 and 300,000 men require such an 
infinity of things which no pastoral or agricultural 



852 JAPANESE LINES OF COMMUNICATION 

country can produce that they are practically tied to 
the railway, unless they have the mobile supply columns 
of the Japanese service, or something resembling them. 
For instance, Kuropatkin will not find growing in 
Manchuria the shells, rifles, small-arm ammunition, or 
the waggons and intrenching tools, that he lost at Liau- 
yang. To take only one item, we should say that the 
24,194 intrenching tools captured by the Japanese may 
very well have represented one-third of the total number 
at disposal, and in any case all the spoils of Liauyang, 
save the supplies, can only be made good by the railway 
and from Western Russia. As an old Turk very truly 
remarked at the Shipka Pass, " It is a long way to bring 
a shell from Russia.'' 

In every supply service worthy of the nanle the 
great guiding principle is to make use of all local re- 
sources as though nothing was to be expected frdtn the 
base, and to send up supplies from the base as though 
nothing was to be drawn fix)m the country. By these 
means a large reserve is gradually formed, the strategic 
liberty of armies assured, and the food, forage, and 
transport belonging to the theatre of war are withdrawn 
from the clutch of the enemy. 

It was the neglect of this principle in South Africa, 
particularly with regard to remounts, that cost the tax- 
payer many millions. It is needless to say that all these 
arrangements demand and imply business habits and 
honesty in the administrations concerned. For instance, 
if the chief authorities, and even commanders of squad- 
rons and companies, are mainly concerned to make 
money and feather their own nests, they draw money 
in place of rations, pocket the cash, and allow their men 
to forage or starve. Indiscriminate foraging and failure 
to pay for supplies will make a rich country a desert in 
a remarkably short space of time. That has always been 
the Russian system, and even in a country flowing with 
milk and honey it does not conduce to military efficiency. 

There is another question of special interest in this 
campaign in the same general order of ideas — namely. 



THE RAILWAY GAUGE 358 

the gauge of the railways. The Russian 5-ft. railway 
gauge has its advantages, but also its defects. The 
Japanese have altered that part of the line now in 
their possession to 3 ft. 6 in., and have sawn off the 
sleepers, so that they may be useless to the Russians 
in the event of a Japanese retirement. All this ques- 
tion has been long ago studied by Intelligence branches 
worth their salt, and the action of Japan was foreseen. 
It has, indeed, been suggested that, should the Russians 
resume the offensive and desire to use the railway as 
now modified by the Japanese, it would be possible for 
them to relay the sleepers longitudinally instead of 
transversely, and so resume traffic without delay. It is, 
however, doubtful whether a line so laid would commend 
itself to a traffic manager. 

It is hardly necessary to state that the medical, 
ordnance, and other services have their share in this 
intelligent organisation of the lines of communication, 
and that the provision of drafts from the home dep6ts 
to make good losses in the field proceeds automatically 
on the same general lines. 



28 



CHAPTER XXX r 

THE SITUATION AT THE END OF 
SEPTEMBER 

The military situation in Manchuria at this moment 
is not altogether without elements of anxiety for our 
allies. If they are numerous, confident, and determined, 
it is also true that the general aspect of the campaign 
is not now quite the same as before Kuropatkin's timdy 
escape fix)m his enemy's ^asp at Liauyang. 

Up to September 1 the Japanese were in a position 
to gain the full advantage of their admirable strategy, 
attained partly by patient and cautious leading and 
partly by the blindness and passivity of their foe. That 
great advantage they have now lost; politically and 
strategically the victory of Liauyang, though a military 
achievement of the utmost gallantry, was a coup manqti^. 
The two armies now face north and south, and each 
covers its line of communications. The strategic advan- 
tages within the zone of active operations are now equal, 
and can only be regained by tactical expedients. 

The Russians still retain their card of re-entry so 
long as they hold Tiding, and Tieling is not an easy 
place to take. Moreover, we have long ago pointed 
out that Prince KhilkofF, the Russian Minister of Ways 
and Communications, was a more dangerous enemy for 
Japan than Kuropatkin himself. Khilkoff could get 
his ideas carried out ; Kuropatkin, with inferior tools, 
could not. This Minister, very early in the war, dis- 

» From The Times of September 23 and 26, 1904. 
354 



RAILWAY MANAGEMENT 855 

played intelligent energy, and we had to label him 
"dangerous." He not only knew what to do, but — 
rarest of gifts — he knew how to do it, and the railway 
troops and employes under him proved their competence 
from the very start. 

The railway administration has entirely disabused 
our minds of faith in the very misleading assurances 
given before the war by a British officer of Engineers, 
of some experience in railway work, to the effect that 
the Trans-Siberian would break down under the stress 
of continuous traffic. On the contrary, it has steadily 
improved. Many months ago we had to point out 
that, although our estimate of from four to six military 
trains a day represented, so far as we could judge, the 
actual traffic on the line, we should be compelled con- 
tinually to alter these figures owing to the work in 
progress, and we mentioned the month of August as 
the time when Japan would be compelled to increase 
largely her military forces in Mancnuria in order to 
cope successfully with the growing facilities of Russian 
transport 

Official estimates are wanting, but it will have been 
remarked some weeks ago, when some of the officers 
and men of the Knight Commander were sent home 
by rail from Vladivostok, that the estimate of the 
through traffic they gave exceeded all previous calcula- 
tions upon which trust could be placed. If this opinion 
was unskilled, it was at least unprejudiced and inde- 
pendent. No other information was vouchsafed until 
a few days ago, when the Paris correspondent of 
The Times quoted M. Marcel Hutin, of the Echo de 
Paris, as sending word from St. Petersburg that 
1,700 men, with guns and ammunition, were passing 
Kharbin daily. On the whole, we are disposed to 
believe that this information is correct, ana that it 
must represent a through traffic of twelve military 
trains a day. 

We can some of us remember that Sir Percy 
Girouard, despite the train-wrecking capacities of our 



856 SITUATION AT END OF SEPTEMBER 

friends the Boers, contrived to place twelve trains a day 
at Bloemfontein over a single line in the summer of 
1900. This was rendered possible by the existence of 
sidings at distances of six miles apart. The Russians 
began with stations twenty-five miles apart and very 
few sidings, and until Prince KhilkofF set to work the 
through traffic was very meagre. If twelve trains a 
day are now running, as seems probable, we must also 
believe that the sidings now are not more than twelve 
miles apart. Considering the length of the line, that 
would represent a remarkable effort, but it is safest to 
believe that it has been accomplished. The exact date 
upon which this transformation was completed on the 
weakest, or Trans-Baikal, section of the railway is still 
in doubt, but probably it was towards the end of July, 
conformably with our anticipation. 

We have also to consider that the harvest through- 
out Manchuria has been exceptionally abundant and 
that Kuropatkin at Tiding has still a rich country at 
his back, even though he has lost the lower valley of 
the Liau and cannot rely on easy means of communica- 
tion with Pechili. All these circumstances, except the 
last, combine to improve Russia's chances and to require 
a much greater effort on the part of Japan than has 
hitherto been necessary. If we were prepared to allow 
that six trains a day could, on an average and con- 
tinuously, reinforce the army by 800 to 1,000 men a 
day, and maintain an army of 250,000 men efficient, we 
must naturally admit that double the number of trains 
can double the output of reinforcements, and supply 
double the previous effectives, though also at double 
the cost when they are all in the field. 

It is also certain that, when once the nicuvimum 
strength of the army has been reached and all the units 
are provided with transport, the subsequent despatch of 
drafts to maintain the corps and services at full strength 
should present no insuperable difficulties. Given tnat 
this improved situation was reached about the end of 
July, the full fruits cannot, of course, be gathered for 



THE AIM OF JAPANESE STRATEGY 357 

some months to come, and in the interval Japan must 
make a corresponding eflbrt, and must suit her strategy 
to the changing circumstances. 

Our view, at the outbreak of war, was that Japan 
should confine herself to the destruction of the Pacific 
squadron, the occupation of Korea and Liautung, 
and the capture of Port Arthur and Vladivostok — a 
programme which we described as sufficiently ambitious 
for a first campaign. The crude strategy of Russia — 
whether inspired by Kuropatkin or others is of small 
moment — enabled .fapan to win victory after victory 
in the field, and to gain the immense and additional 
advantage of moral superiority over her foe by a long 
sequence of unbroken successes. Kuropatkin, on the 
other hand, may say that his delaying actions have 
enabled him to retain the gate of entry into Southern 
Manchuria until the date when he hoped to be strong 
enough to attack. Whether the loss of material and 
moral strength is compensated for by this gain, it will 
be for the ftiture to tell us. It is doubtful, how- 
ever, whether the successful offensive is yet within his 
power, despite the successes of Khilkoff on the line of 
communications, successes which have certainly been 
remarkable, and even brilliant. 

We can believe that what we may call the auto- 
matic reinforcement of the Japanese armies — namely, 
that ensured by the activity of home depots — has been 
already carried out and the losses have been made good ; 
we must further assume that such strategic reserves as 
have been kept in hand will now be brought up for 
the next stroke. The present situation can only be 
temporary, since the armies are in touch along their 
front, and, if Kuropatkin intends to persevere in his 
Tolstoian attitude of offering his cheek to the smiter, 
it is only a question of the length of time required by 
the smiter to prepare his blow. The aim of Japanese 
strategy must now be to beat the Russians out of 
Mukden and Tiding, and then to await the Russian 
onset during the winter in a favourable position. 



858 SITUATION AT END OF SEPTEMBER 

Whether this object will be secured in this year's 
campaign or the next, no one will care to foretell. 

If the feeling of personal superiority engendered in 
the Japanese ranks by constant victory is an immense 
gain, and the want of confidence of the Russians in 
themselves and their leaders a terrible disadvantage, the 
credit side of the balance of our ally is largely on the 
side of opinion. Opinion is much in war; against it 
mere numbers end by not counting at all. But we 
have not yet reached that stage ; the Russian army is 
strong in numbers and occupies good positions ; fresh 
troops have come up, and fresh courage has been 
instilled. To fight Russians, said Frederick, you must 
pound them with artillery and batter them like a 
fortress. For choice, no one would elect to fight 
Russians in a champs clos. To fight Russians, an army 
requires good, quick, lightly equipped infantry ; mobile 
artillery, and plenty of it, and, for mounted men, either 
fast light caviury armed with lance and rifle, or highly 
trained mounted infantry ; better still, both combined. 
Given also a good staff and a sound staff system, 
thoroughly understood by general officers, it then only 
remains to ask for elbow room, and the ponderous 
Russian army, with its wretched staff, inconsequent 
movements, and incapacity for intelligent co-operation, 
stands but a poor chance against an enemy that can 
march and manoeuvre. But, when we are in a region 
of mountain and river and have to attack fortified 

Positions, with flanks secured and the trenches occupied 
y Russian infantry, then the outlook is less pleasing, 
and the moral is that an army fighting Russians must 
learn how best to apply its strength to their weakness, 
and to avoid the reverse situation. Close with a 
Frenchman and outmanoeuvTC a Russian, said Nelson, 
and the advice is as sound now as when it was given 
before Copenhagen. 

It is not everything on one side that calls for criticism 
in this war, nor everything on the other that calls for 
praise. That is not true of any war, and it is not true 



THE BALTIC FLEET 859 

to-day, even though, as the allies of Japan, we are 
bound to exercise caution and reserve in remarks con- 
cerning the action of her forces. 

A few thousand Boers under men like Christian 
de Wet, Daniel Theron, or Kritzinger, let loose in 
Manchuria and well mounted, would render the Russian 
position untenable, since the railway would be broken 
every night in several places. That part of our South 
African experiences, and the similar lessons of the 
American Civil War, Japan has not apparently absorbed, 
and as long as her mounted men are tied by the leg to 
army headquarters, so long will the record of their deeds 
in this war remain barren. Cavaby is not the arm in 
which the paltry spirit of prudence, preservation, and 
parsimony has any part at all. We can do with many 
sorts of cavalry, but no one has ever yet found a use for 
cavalry of position. 

Meanwhile, after nearly eight months of preparation, 
the famous Baltic Fleet got under way on September 11 
and steamed as far as Reval, where it once more cast 
anchor. Various dates in June, July, August, and 
September have been from time to time given out as 
those upon which the armada would certainly set out, 
and the latest of these is October 3, when, we are 
assured. Admiral Rozhdestvensky, after a positively last 
appearance at St. Petersburg, will put to sea. 

The condition of the more important vessels of this 
squadron has been frequently discussed in The Times 
by competent writers, and from these and other accounts 
we were warranted in drawing the general conclusion 
that the junction of the Baltic and Pacific squadrons 
was a patriotic chimera, since it was evident that the 
state of unreadiness of the Baltic ships made it a reason- 
able certainty that the affair of the Pacific vessels would 
be settled before the reinforcements appeared as an 
organised squadron in the Far East. 

Until the squadron leaves the Baltic it is not 
possible, neither is it necessary, to give a detailed 
description of the ships that have been assembled for 



360 SITUATION AT END OF SEPTEMBER 

this really colossal enterprise, but there are at present 
at Reval six battleships, five cruisers, and a number of 
transports and torpedo craft, making up in all a respect- 
able force on paper, and awaiting the arrival of three 
more vessels from Kronstadt before setting out on its 
knight-errant's quest. The battleships are probably the 
Imperator Alexander I 11.^ Oslyabya, Navarin, Kniaz 
Suvaroff, Sissoi VeUky, and Borodino, and to these the 
Orel will probably be added. Among the cruisers 
will be found the Dmitri Donskoi, Aurora, Admired 
Nakhimoff, Almaz, and Izumrud, while it is possible 
that the Smolensk and the Peterburg may reach Libau 
in time to join the fleet after being regularly commis- 
sioned and purged of their past offences. There may 
be, and there probably are, many defects in some of 
these ships, but on paper the squadron is not unworthy 
of being matched with the navy of Japan, and the 
group of four battleships of the Borodino class of over 
13,000 tons displacement are the most powerful ships 
that Russia possesses. 

Should the squadron sail east, we must expect to 
see the ex-German cruisers and steamers, renamed the 
Don, Ural, Terek, Kuban, Irtish, Anadyr, and Armtn^ 
accompany or precede the armada. From the Black 
Sea there may come the Jupiter, Mercury, and Meteor, 
of the Steam Navigation Company, and possibly the 
Tchitchakoff and Nikolai, while of the Volunteer Fleet 
there are available the Kie]^, PTadimir, Yaroslav, 
Tamboff, Voronezh, and Saratoff, together with the 
Orel at Toulon as hospital ship. This so-called auxiliary 
coaling squadron from the Black Sea will be supple- 
mented by a cloud of colliers organised and distributed 
along the route by the German steamship companies 
which have undertaken the coaling of the fleet. 

Considering that the armada cannot reach Japanese 
waters before Christmas ; that Port Arthur will not be 
available ; that Vladivostok will be frozen up ; and that 
Russia has not a single naval base on the route and 
cannot use British waters at all for the purpose of 




K 



THE SIEGE OF PORT ARTHUR 861 

coaling, the projected adventure is decidedly hazardous 
and does not seem to hold out a reasonable prospect 
of success. Materially speaking, the despatch of the 
squadron to the East is possible, although beset with 
great difficulty ; the real trouble begins with the fighting, 
and increases whether victory or defeat ensue. At the 
same time, the plan is not devoid of elements of grandeur, 
and, should the squadron sail, its progress and its fate 
will be among the most remarkable and instructive 
episodes of modern naval history. 

The nature of the Japanese proceedings at Port 
Arthur has from the first been dependent upon the 
sailing of the Baltic Fleet Japan has been perfectly 
justified in covering all the events of the siege with a 
veil of mystery, smce it was not in her interest that 
public attention should centre itself round Port Arthur, 
or that a great wave of popular excitement should 
compel Russia to send out all seaworthy ships at an 
earlier date. This might conceivably have been the 
case had the moving incidents of the siege been re- 
counted day by day. Japan therefore proceeded with 
the attack methodically and silently, always with one 
eye upon the Baltic ; and if she endeavoured to hasten 
proceedings by costly assaults, she soon found that 
permanent defences of the modem type, with Russians 
behind them, were not to be treated in such cavalier 
fashion. Finding also that the artillery fire of the forts 
remained unsubdued, she arranged, too late in the day, 
to bring up 11 -in. guns, and it is these destructive 
weapons and the howitzers, combined with the artillery 
of the fleet, that began the more serious bombardment 
of the doomed fortress in the course of the past week. 
If Chifu rumour speaks true, the besiegers have made 
important headway ; they are evidently proceeding with 
method and deliberation, and are eating into the defences 
bit by bit. 

We are insufficiently informed to hazard any guess 
at the date of the fall of the place, but the general trend 
of the evidence is to the effect that the defence has 



362 SITUATION AT END OF SEPTEMBER 

steadily weakened and that the Japanese anticipate an 
early triumph. Most important of all, they believe that 
they can now make the ships in harbour choose finally 
between destruction and unsuccessftil flight. 

It is at this moment, after peacefully awaiting the 
consummation of the destruction of Fleet No. 1, that 
Fleet No. 2 weighs anchor, to proceed, in the most 
unfavourable season, to waters where it has no sanctuary, 
no possibility of repair, no resources, in order to measure 
itself with an almost uninjured and war- trained navy 
which can now afford to change its tactics and to throw 
itself upon its enemy in Nelson style, since it knows 
this Russian squadron to be the last. 

The Tsar's autograph letter appointing General 
Gripenberg to the command of a Second Manchurian 
Army focusses the various rumours on this subject 
which have been current for some time past. " The 
intense energy," writes His Majesty, " with which Japan 
is conducting the war, and the stubbornness and high 
warlike qualities displayed by the Japanese, impel me 
to make considerable additions to the strength of my 
forces at the firont in order to attain a decisive success 
within the shortest possible time. Since, in the accom- 
plishment of this, the number of military units will 
reach such a figure that their continuance in one army 
is not admissible without prejudice to the proper 
direction, mancBuvring, and mobility of the troops, I 
have found it necessary to divide the troops destined 
for active service in Manchuria into two armies. While 
leaving the command of one of these armies in the 
hands of General Kuropatkin, I appoint you to command 
the second. Your many years of service, your warlike 
exploits, and your wide experience in the warlike 
training of troops, give me full assurance that you, 
following the general directions of the Commander-in- 
Chief, will successfully lead to the attainment of the 
object of this war the army which is entrusted to you, 
and which will show its own valour and power of 
endurance in the fight against the foe for the honour 



"GENERAL DIRECTIONS ' 868 

and dignity of the fatherland. God bless you for your 
great and glorious services to me and to Russia. I 
remain your affectionate Nicholas." 

It is certainly true that when the First Manchurian 
Army reaches its full strength it will be at least 250,000 
strong, and that this figure, and the number of army 
corps which go to form it, cannot conveniently be 
exceeded for the reasons stated in the Imperial letter. 

The only doubtful point is the identity of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief whose " general directions " General 
Gripenberg is told to follow. Presumably this Com- 
mander-in-Chief is the Viceroy, Admiral AlexeiefF, who 
stills retains the nominal title, although Kuropatkin 
commands the First Army of Manchuria. The point 
is not absolutely clear, but apparently an admiral, say 
at Kharbin, is to issue " general directions " to thirteen 
army corps operating in two wings, and to combine their 
movements upon the theatre of war. For a sailor the 
experience will be novel ; for the armies themselves it 
promises to be exhilarating. 

His Imperial Majesty speaks of the Japanese in 
kingly terms. He mentions the intense energy they 
display, their stubbornness and high warlike qualities, 
and in so doing honours both the enemy's army and 
his own. 

If we turn now to the operations of the main army, 
it is not easy to pick our way through the maze of 
rumour, since the Russian Headquarter Staff appears to 
be ignorant, not only of the Japanese proceedings, but 
also of the actions of its own army. General SakharofF, 
a few days ago, assured us that " the Manchurian Army 
was nowhere engaged on September 16 and 17." On 
the contrary, replies Marshal Oyama, we were attacked 
on the 17th by two columns of Russian troops, aggre- 
gating seven battalions and two batteries, and fighting 
went on for seven hours, the Russians being repulsed 
at nightfall. Thus Kuropatkin's own Chief-of-StafF 
confesses his ignorance of attacks made by Russian 
troops within a few miles of his camp, and in these 



364 SITUATION AT END OF SEPTEMBER 

circumstances the amount of useful information we can 
reckon on from the Russian side is evidently limited. 

If a serious attack is in progress at Port Arthur, it 
is not clear why Marshal Oyama should be in any hurry 
to advance. He knows that by the time he gets to 
Tieling all the 1st European and 6th Siberian Army 
Corps will have reached Kuropatkin, and that the 8th 
European Army Corps has not yet been reviewed by 
the Tsar prior to its departure from Odessa. He knows 
that this latter corps cannot be up until well on in 
November. On the other hand, when Port Arthur 
falls, the Japanese equivalent of two Russian army 
corps will be set free to join the main army at Liauyan^. 
Meanwhile Marshal Oyama's business is to complete his 
line of railway and to provide rolling stock, to mass 
supplies at the front, replenish his ammimition, and 
embody in his regiments the drafts which have arrived 
to make good losses. He has nothing to lose by a few 
weeks' delay, and if Port Arthur falls he has something 
to gain. Even if it does not fall, the arrival of fresh 
troops from Japan will compensate for Kuropatkin s 
accession of strength since the last battle. 

It is even possible that Oyama may send away a 
couple of divisions to take part in the attack on Port 
Artnur. He holds the central situation, and the thing 
is in his power. Kuropatkin is not hkely to strike at 
him before the Hun has been crossed, and if the 
Russians resume the offensive and traverse the Hun 
in their turn to attack, nobody should be better pleased 
than the Japanese commander. 

So long as the Japanese held the flank position they 
apparently considered themselves bound to exploit it 
before the slow-thinking Russians woke up to their 
danger and escaped. Oyama has no such strategic 
advantage now ; consequently there is no reason for 
haste, and much reason for delay to organise the railway 
in his rear. We are, in fact, once more in the whispering 
gallery of the double objective, hearing on one hand 
that vast numbers of Japanese are marching on Mukden 



YAMAGATA 365 

by every available route, inspired by a proclamation of 
the Marshal suggesting that they should conquer or die, 
and listening on the other side to the news that a severe 
bombardment began at Port Arthur on the 19th, and 
that the Court at St. Petersburg is in great anxiety as 
to the result. On the whole we should be disposed to 
decide for Port Arthur as the immediate objective at 
this moment, and to draw the inference from the 
appearance of telegrams signed by Kuroki and from the 
Marshals somewhat belated despatches that the latter 
is now present before Port Arthur. But Yamagata, 
like all good Samurai, fights with two swords, and we 
never know with which he will strike next. Moreover, 
neither he nor his disciples at the front are at all likely 
to tell us. 



CHAPTER XXXII ' 

RUSSIAN ARMIES AND THE RUSSIAN 

PEOPLE 

Some little time ago Gteneral Kuropatkin re-grouped 
his forces in several armies. There was the Army of 
Ussuri, under Linievitch, and the Army of the South, 
under Stossel. There was also the Army of the East, 
designed for the particular purpose of meeting Kuroki ; 
while, lastly, there was the main army, under Kuropatkin 
himself, including the rest of the field troops at his 
disposal Then came the Tsar's rescript and the 
creation of the Second Manchurian Army, and the 
higher direction of the strategy of the campaign was 
once more in a state of flux. 

Up to a certain point we can all follow and applaud 
the aecision to raise and despatch a second army. 
Prince KhilkofTs really great work upon the railway 
has certainly doubled, and may even still further 
improve, the facilities of through traffic. It is therefore 
only natural that full advantage should be taken of the 
fact. It is also certain that, even without the 6th 
Siberian Corps, Kuropatkin's force consists of ei^ht 
army corps and a strong force of cavalry, and that 
when these units are eventually brought up to their 

E roper establishments and losses made good, they will 
ave the capacity for incorporating from 250,000 to 
300,000 men. 

Further, it is certain that an army of this strength 

' From The Times of October 3, 1904. 
366 



GENERAL GRIPENBERG 867 

is as much as, if not more than, one man can effectively 
control and command. In the army of the Western 
type, composed of four army corps, the figure of 250,000 
men is generally regarded as a maximum^ and, as a rule, 
it would have several lines of rail leading from its zone 
of concentration to the army corps districts in the rear. 
The ideal of Western strategy is to have a through 
line of rail from each army corps district to the troops 
at the front, and this ideal has been almost, if not 
quite, achieved on certain Continental frontiers. 

But Kuropatkin has only one single line for his 
eight army corps, and he has not the monopoly of that, 
since Vladivostok and Linievitchs troops require a 
certain proportion of the trains, while articles of primary 
necessity for the inhabitants of Russian East Asia have 
to be supplied. Moreover, the communications by 
road, except during the winter, are as bad as can be 
imagined, and the Russians have shown no capacity 
for movement in the hills. In every battle a large 
proportion of the troops within call has not been 
engaged, since the combination of indifferent staff, 
inferior roads, and inadequate mobility have rendered 
the Russian military machine cumbrous to a degree. 

Therefore, the Tsar is abundantly justified in 
declaring in his rescript that a further increase of the 
units of the First Army is not admissible without 
prejudice to their direction, manoeuvring, and mobility. 
He might, indeed, have gone further and have stated 
that they already exceed the useful maximum under 
the conditions that prevail. 

General Gripenberg, that fine old soldier who has 
been bomharde chef darmee^ appears to have Kharbin 
assigned to him as a point of assembly. It is possible 
that the 6th Siberian Army Corps is still there and 
has not left for the south, since no certain news of its 
appearance at Tiding or Mukden has come through. 
The 8th Army Corps, which the Tsar has just reviewed 
at Odessa, will begin to entrain to-day, October 3, and 
with good luck may be assembled at Kharbin by the 



368 RUSSIAN ARMIES AND THE PEOPLE 

third week in November, when Gripenberg should have 
some 70,000 men under his command. If two more 
army corps follow, as at present proposed, he should have 
nearly 150,000 men with him by the middle of January ; 
but it is doubtful whether the railway management 
will be able to devote such sustained effort to the 
forwarding of troops alone. 

The question then arises as to the combination of 
the movements of these two armies, whether Gripenberg 
is set in motion at an earlier or a later date. The 
suggestion of the Imperial rescript is that they shall 
both follow the " general directions " of the Viceroy. 
So long as Gripenberg remains at Kharbin and 
Kuropatkin does the fighting at the front, no serious 
harm will ensue, save that arising from the necessary 
attrition in the supply and reinforcement of the First 
Army of Manchuria for the benefit of the Second. 
But when the Second Army takes the field it must 
do so either in juxtaposition with the first, or upon a 
separate and distmct mission. In the first case there 
wul be two armies alongside of each other under rival 
and equal commanders, resulting in an impossible and 
absurd situation, which would probably rather be 
exaggerated than the reverse by the arrival of the 
Grand Duke Nicholas as arbiter elegantiarum. In the 
second case the two armies must act in unison, a unison 
secured by the intermediary of the Viceroy, whose 
starboard column of army corps will be under a leader 
who will view the admiral's signals with a marked 
degree of suspicion. The only satisfactory bond of 
union between the two armies would be the presence 
of the Tsar and the Imperial Headquarters in the field, 
since this authority, and this alone, would at once be 
accepted without question. 

The advent of the Second Army of Manchuria has 
been heralded by a fanfare on the part of the Russian 
press. The official Journal de St. Pdersbourg bids 
Japan tremble and prepare for her latter end. It talks 
of the unshakable determination of Russia to press the 



AN UNFORTUNATE BELIEF 369 

war to the end, scoffs at mediation, which no one 
has the remotest intention of offering, and says that 
"every one understands" it (*an only be dictated by 
the desire to save Japan from the disaster which is 
already felt to be inevitable. *' The war," it continues, 
•* is still only at its beginning, while Japan has already 
made her supreme efforts to put all her reserves in the 
field. It is presumed that Kuropatkin will not under- 
take any operation, however little risky, where a check 
might compromise the final success of our arms." 
Evidently, the inspirer of this article has not given 
much of his time to the study of logic, or he would 
not describe a Japanese disaster as inevitable, and 
then say that a check will compromise the final success 
of Russian arms. As to things that " every one 
understands," it is very regrettable that Leibnitz did 
not compose his New Essays on the Human Under- 
standing in a government office at St. Petersburg, 
for there are evidently many things that have escaped 
his acute analysis. 

The idea entertained in Russia that Japan has 
" put all her resources in the field " is one of those 
unfortunate beliefs that arise when governments allow 
themselves to be hypnotised by tables prepared by 
Intelligence branches without broad views. Paul 
Krugers advisers were similarly beguiled by the 
reiterated statements which reached them that we 
could not place more than 70,000 men in the field ; 
the real power of America is similarly and constantly 
misconceived by a study of her standing army. Japan 
has given the natural reply to these beliefs by a turn 
of the screw of her recruiting laws, affording ample 
margin, not only for meeting the danger threatened, 
but for largely surpassing all her probable requirements. 
What Russia has to consider is not the ipse dixit of 
a Grand Duke, a Sakharoff, or a Gilinsky, but the 
fact that she has to reckon with the entire able-bodied 
population of Japan. It may perhaps be news to the 
Russian War Office, but it is a fact, that no fewer 

24 



370 RUSSIAN ARMIES AND THE PEOPLE 

than 700,000 voluntary offers of service were received 
by the Japanese military administration from men 
not called up for service. It would have been possible 
for her to have fought through this campaign with an 
army exclusively composed of volunteers, but she 
has very properly decided, when all were willing, to 
retain the system of service and the hicidus ordo that 
she had long prepared. Neither Japan nor Russia 
will make peace for lack of men. 

It was not a very happy thought on the part of 
Russia to have boasted of her strength so soon, and 
to have given Japan ample time to increase her armies 
in corresponding or larger measure. Japan has not 
only a large reserve of arms, but her factories can turn 
out many hundred rifles daily, and her people are not 
impressed by the fulminations of St. Petersburg, but 
are confident in their capacity to outbid Russia at 
every point. They may be wrong, but hitherto, at 
all events, their judgment of the situation has proved, 
on the whole, correct 

Now if we turn to the state of pubUc opinion in 
Russia, both at the front and at home, we can hardly 
believe that 700,000 Russians would volunteer for the 
war if th^y had the chance. The reports that reach us 
from all sides declare, in terms that cannot be misunder- 
stood, that this war is the most unpopular that Russia 
has ever waged. It is not British or American corre- 
spondents alone who underline the fact, but critics friendly 
to Russia and men who desire her success. There is a 
public opinion in Russia, even at the front, and this 
opinion forms and fashions the pubUc sentiment at home. 

The Russian Red Cross Society is a body possessing 
large resources and great influence in high quarters. Up 
to July 15 it had sent 188 hospitals to the front, with 
15,000 beds, 400 doctors, 1,750 attendants, and 800 
sisters of mercy. Many of the best Russian families 
have sent one member or more to aid in this beneficent 
and charitable work; in addition, various officials on 
leave have spent some weeks at the seat of war. 



ECHOES OF THE BATTLEFIELDS 871 

The effect of the reverses and constant retreats upon 
the sentiments of this undisciplined body of opinion has 
been most damaging for Kuropatkin. In particular, the 
loss of Yingkow and the consequent closing of the last 
means of communication with the outside world, save 
over the Trans-Siberian, proved very disadvantageous. 
The Red Cross Society was no longer able to secure 
or provide all those delicacies which are luxuries to the 
healthy but necessities to the sick. The personal com- 
forts and conveniences of various high-bom people of 
both sexes of the Society itself were no longer to be 
satisfied. The hospitals were constantly on the move, 
and were inextricably mixed up with the tag-rag of a 
beaten army. The attendants listened painfully to all 
those bitter insinuations and malicious reports that are 
among the most disagreeable consequences of defeat. 
The post was open ; and from all these harassed and 
dejected members of society there came back the ex- 
pression and the echo of all these disappointed hopes, 
to be disseminated through all ranks of Russian society, 
together with similar complaints and accusations from 
officers, officials, and the rank and file of the army itself, 
or such part of it at least as was sufficiently educated 
to write. 

It is not improbable that these echoes of the battle- 
fields have done more to discredit the reputation of 
Kuropatkin among his own countrymen than all the 
defeats his army has suffered. " Every one with whom 
I have spoken is tired of this war." So telegraphs 
Colonel Gadke from the front, and he probably ex- 
presses in moderate terms the true sentiments of those 
who have borne the burden and heat of the day. In 
valour the armies may be equal ; in enthusiasm for 
their cause they are certainly not. 

It is not possible to judge of the cumulative effect 
of all these opinions upon the Russian public from the 
columns of the Russian press, since, despite the liberal 
tendencies of the new Minister of the Interior and the 
greater freedom of expression which journals have 



872 RUSSIAN ARMIES AND THE PEOPLE 

allowed themselves since M. de Plehve's death, the 
hand of the censor is still heavy. But our contem- 
porary the Temps has sent two representatives to Japan 
and Russia to study and report upon the state of public 
opinion in the two countries, and from these sources we 
have a series of letters of more than ephemeral interest. 
The correspondent in Russia has had many things to 
say during his residence in St Petersburg which must 
cause a good deal of anxiety respecting the future rela- 
tions of England and Russia, and appear to make it a 
pressing interest that those reforms which Lord Kitchener 
is projecting for the Indian Army should be put through 
with the least possible delay. But that is another and 
a larger question with which for the moment we are not 
concerned; and we need only recount the views ex- 
pressed by this able chronicler when he reaches Moscow 
and has been able to study all shades of opinion in the 
national capital : — 

" C'est k Moscou que j'ai commence k entendre 
librement dire et r^p^ter ce que la presse p^riodique 
n'ose pas rappeler trop haut, mais ce que, depuis une 
extr^mit^ de I'empire jusqu'k Tautre, grands et petits, 
connus et inconnus, rep^tent sans g§ne : ^ Maudite soit 
cette guerre sans raison et sans excuse; cette guerre 
dont les causes, bien qu'insuffisamment ^claircies, n'ont, 
ce semble, que peu de points communs avec I'int^rfit 
bien compris du peuple russe ; cette guerre qui nous 
coilte des millions et nous coAtera d'inutiles milliards 
quand ella sera termin^e, qui fauche dans nos rangs 
des milliers de soldats, qui n'ajoute pas, il s'en faut, 
k notre prestige — et tout cela pourquoi ? Pour nous 
assurer, sur un territoire Stranger, la possession d'un 
port m^iocre et sans profondeur!' Ces reflexions, 
je les entends redire partout, sans relache, par des gens 
de toute caste et de toute condition ; j'ai done quel- 
ques raisons d'admettre qu'elles repr^sentent Topinion 
dominante en Russie. . . . C'est un d^sir ardent d'en 
finir d'une fa9on ou de Tautre avec la malheureuse 
campagne et de recevoir des gages prouvant qu'k 



LE TEMPS 878 

Tavenir la possibilite de pareilles ' aventures ' sera ecartee 
pour jamais." 

From Moscow the correspondent proceeded to Nijni 
Novgorod, and made inquiries among the commercial 
classes, with whose views he deals as follows, repeating 
the words of two representative Russian merchants : — 

" Cette gueiTC nous ruine. Vous savez les difficult^s 
avec lesquelles nous avons k lutter, nous autres indus- 
triels, et la n^cessit^ on nous sommes de r^duire soit 
notre personnel soit notre production. Mais ce que 
vous savez moins, peut-6tre, c'est la panique qui s'est 
abattue sur les banques et I'incroyable resserrement du 
cr^it qui en est r^sult^. La crise est dure pour nous. 
Or, songez-y bien, les Japonais prendront Port Arthur. 
Je ne parle pas des millions qui y furent jet^s k la mer ; 
mais, cette inutile fortresse, nous voudrons la reprendre. 
J'ignore si nous y r^ussirons ; en tout cas, c'est alors 
que commencera la crise s^rieuse. La guerre va, de ce 
chef, s'eterniser, et une fois termin^e, m^me k notre 
profit, elle continuera de nous coAter des sommes 
^normes. . . . Ce Port Arthur sera notre ruine." 

If this is a correct reflection of the state of the public 
mind in Russia, it becomes of interest to turn to the 
other combatant and to inquire into the psychology of 
the war on the Japanese side in order to institute a 
comparison of the moral forces at work among a people 
who some continue to forget are our allies. 

We must all desire to discover whether they are 
right who find a childish unreason in the Japanese 
character and assure us that their valour and energy 
are a mere passing mood, or whether, on the contrary, 
some among us have not yet penetrated the Japanese 
character or quite learnt to understand the high ideals 
which inspire Japanese conduct. But that study is a 
metaphysical problem of some complexity, and must 
be reserved for another chapter. 



CHAPTER XXXIII^ 

THE SOUL OF A NATION 

A NATION can neither anticipate nor attain to pre- 
eminence in the arts of war unless it possesses moral as 
well as material superiority over its enemy. Numbers, 
resources, territory, wealth, arms, even mere animal 
courage, are not enough to establish and maintain such 
pre-eminence unless there is also some deep and abiding 
moral principle of action which supports and sustains 
the frailty of human nature, inculcates high ideals, 
encourages emulation in noble deeds, and inspires both 
moderation in victory and constancy in defeat. 

Patriotism, religion, and fanaticism have been in 
past ages the three great dominating forces which have 
determined the noblest deed of arms and the highest 
triumphs of the peaceful arts. In the domain of war, 
the first inspired Rome and Lacedaemon, the second 
had its highest realisation in the Crusades, while, for 
the last, we have all of us seen barbarians in distant 
lands confronting our bayonets with as much valour, 
though not with as much skill, as ever was displayed 
by the Tenth Legion or the knights who obeyed the 
clarion voice of Peter the Hermit. Who can recall 
without a thrill of admiration the morning of Omdur- 
man, the great plain filled as far as the eye could reach 
with the countless hosts of the Khalifa, the regular 
movements of the ordered masses, the great standards of 
the fighting Emirs, the white-clad horsemen streaming 

> The Times, October 4, 1904. 
374 



A MORAL FORCE 875 

over Jebei Surgham with their snowy banners, the 
morning sun glinting upon their arms ? Who can 
forget the shouts of the faithful that rent the air as the 
masses turned to rush down upon that little semi-circle 
of watching and wondering men who stood still as 
stone with ordered arms, inspired with no feeling but 
one of intense and delighted admiration ? Who can 
wonder that they even forgot to open fire, fearful of 
marring such a stupendous spectacle, until a direct order 
from the stern-faced chief recalled them to a forgotten 
sense of what the Dervish warriors were purposing 
to attempt? 

If our present soldiers have never themselves felt 
the furious inspiration of religious war, they know, at 
least, to what prodigies of valour fanaticism can impel 
the lowest of mankind, and in three long years of war 
they have learnt something, too, of the sacrifices and the 
efforts that a stem and a stiff-necked people can offer 
up on the altar of patriotism. They have, in all good 
conscience, the grounding necessary for an inquiry into 
the inspirations of bushido in Japan. There have been 
other, many other, motives which have inspired noble 
deeds, among which the unwritten code of knightly 
honour of chivalry occupies a very distinguished place. 
But chivalry never went deep down into the masses, 
and no movement that is restricted to a small, if select, 
circle can ever hope to count for much in the play and 
counterplay of national rivalries and the history of the 
world. 

Of all the many remarkable circumstances of this 
Far Eastern war, the fact that dominates everything 
else is the courage and conduct of the Mikado's armies. 
We recognise, almost grudgingly and in spite of our- 
selves, the existence of a moral force that appears able 
to govern and sway the whole conduct of a whole 
people, inspiring not a caste, but a nation from highest 
to lowest, to deeds that are worthy to rank with the 
most famous of history or of legend. We want to 
know what this force is, whence it comes, and what it 



876 THE SOUL OF A NATION 

means ; the sense of its existence makes us jealous, un- 
comfortable, almost annoyed. W e are told that the Japan- 
ese are scientific fanatics ; in effect that is apparently 
the result ; but effects are nothing, and causes everything. 
What we desire to know is the cause, the underlying 
motive that inspires the deeds of valour, too numerous 
to name, that are told us from all sides, without a 
single dissentient voice, both from one side of the 
battlefield and from the other, even finding a generous 
acknowledgment in a rescript of the Tsar's. 

The Western world listened impatiently before the 
war to the tittle-tattle of a few travelled dreamers, who 
spoke of new forces and new ideals — new, that is, to 
us. But we all doubted until we saw the new forces 
at work, and then contented ourselves with the mere 
registration of ascertained facts, till we had in our 
possession a volume of evidence from which conclusions 
might be drawn and legitimate deductions made. We 
watched the dignified conduct of the negotiations, the 
calm decision of the Japanese Empire to make war ; we 
saw the deeds of Togo s men off Port Arthur ; we read 
of the devotion of the warriors who sailed their ships 
to certain death in that fatal channel ; we noted the 
spirit of Commander Hirose, of Captain Sakurai, and 
of many other named and unnamed heroes on land and 
sea, at the Yalu, at Nanshan, round the Motienling, 
and at Liauyang ; we observed the patient constancy of 
the people of Japan, and never a single discordant note 
broke the harmony of the strangely fascinating epic. 
We saw that the Japanese were fighting with the firm 
determination to conquer or die ; that defenceless men 
in unarmed ships preferred death to surrender, not in 
theory, but in deed and in truth ; that men and officers 
were possessed with an unconquerable spirit, and so 
remained unconquered ; and that from highest to lowest 
and in all categories of the armed forces the story was 
one and the same. That set us all a-thinking, for it 
was evident, as Captain Brinkley truly says, that " better 
men in battle have not been educated by any creed." 



JAPAN'S ART 377 

V^alour is nothing new to the West, since the annals 
of all armies are crowded with it. It was not that ; 
there was something more behind, something which, 
had all Western armies possessed it, would have pre- 
vented black marks which besmirch the military 
escutcheons of all nations of the West without a 
single exception. What was it ? What is it ? 

It is hardly possible for any one who turns over 
the fascinating leaves of Captain Brinkley's truly mar- 
vellous work upon Japan not to say to himself at every 
page, " Russia ought to have known, aye, and all 
Europe too." The art of a nation is the expression 
of its soul. What Japanophile collectors should have 
boasted when they added a fresh gem to their collection 
— ^a carving by Hidari Jingoro, a masterpiece of lacquer 
by Korin, a painting by Sesshu, or a Buddha by Unkei — 
was not their gratified vanity, but the discovery of a 
new force in the family of nations. The genius, the 
application, the ingenuity, the infinite variety, the 
imagination, and the finish of Japanese craftsmen 
should have told us long ago that the nation had but 
to apply these talents to national uses in a wider sense, 
to rise in a moment to a level with the best. 

At first sight, indeed, there appears to be something 
amiss. History shows that great and lasting national 
pre-eminence, whether military or political, carries with 
it every other form of greatness. We take the great 
masterpieces of Greek and Roman art as a matter of 
course ; we expect to find a Titian produced by Venice 
when she ruled the Adriatic, a Velasquez by Spain 
when she dominated half the world, a Rembrandt by 
Holland when she had shaken off the Spanish yoke, a 
Reynolds by England to recall the great figures of 
the fighting aristocracy that triumphed over a world 
in arms. 

If national pre-eminence in Japan has apparently, 
and, we may almost say, inadvertently, lagged far 
behind the days when Japanese art attained to its 
zenith, it is more appearance than reality, since the 



878 THE SOUL OF A NATION 

spirit that runs like a silver thread through Japanese 
history is quite unbroken, and huslddo itself, the soul 
of the nation, is a direct product of very ancient times, 
so ancient, indeed, that no one can trace its original 
beginnings. The subject is not one to be touched 
upon lightly or without a preliminary warning that no 
one is really competent to discuss bushido save a biLshi^ 
and that the perfect biishi has never existed, since per- 
fection is not for man to achieve, no, not even in Japan. 
The writings of native philosophers upon this subject 
are not all that can be desired, since, for the most part, 
the authors who have endeavoured to epitomise or 
codify Imshido are themselves not btishis, and are con- 
sequently unable to unfold the whole gospel of this 
remarkable code of ethics. JBushido^ which may be 
very inadequately translated as the way of the knights, 
is the unwritten code of moral and ethical principles 
which fashions the conduct of all its adherents and 
makes up the scheme of life of the bushi or samurai. 
It is a Japanese proverb that says, " As the cherry 
blossom is among flowers, so is the Imshi among men." 

If we cannot adequately express all that Imshido is, 
we can say what it is not. Take the average scheme 
of life of the average society of the West, and btishido^ 
as nearly as may be, represents its exact antithesis. 
Bushido offers us the ideal of poverty instead of wealth, 
humility in place of ostentation, reserve instead of 
reclame, self-sacrifice in place of selfishness, the care of 
the interest of the state rather than that of the in- 
dividual. Bushido inspires ardent courage and the 
refusal to turn the back upon the enemy ; it looks death 
calmly in the face, and prefers it to ignominy of any 
kind. It preaches submission to authority and the 
sacrifice of all private interests, whether of self or of 
family, to the common weal. It requires its disciples 
to submit to a strict physical and mental disciplme, 
develops a martial spirit, and, by lauding the virtues of 
courage, constancy, fortitude, faithfulness, daring, and 
self-restraint, offers an exalted code of moral principles. 



BUSHIDO 379 

not only for the man and the warrior, but for men and 
women in times both of peace and of w^ar. 

The origin of tmshido is lost in the mists of antiquity. 
To the ancients it was often the sole form of religion, 
but it has drawn inspiration in later centuries from 
many faiths. The patriotism of indigenous Shintoism, 
the stoical philosophy of the Zen sect of Buddhism, 
the asceticism of Brahminism, and the self-abnegation 
of Christianity have one and all become embodied, or 
are gradually becoming embodied, in the unwritten 
code of ethics of which bushido consists. There is no 
dogma, no infallibility, no priesthood, and no ritual; 
bushido takes the very best and the very highest of 
all ancient and modern philosophy and morals and 
endeavours to embody it in an ordered scheme of life. 

The term bushi, closely represented by the ideal of 
the faithful knight of chivalry, can be traced back for 
1,500 years in the history of Japan. Bushido is not a 
religion, but a philosophy. It does not centre so much 
upon personal loyalty to the Emperor as upon loyalty, 
for its own sake, to all superiors, and to the Imperial 
Heaven-descended House most of all, as the highest 
embodiment of the principle of authority. If an 
Emperor were unworthy, another member of the 
Imperial House would take his place; there would be 
no civil war, for idolatry of the War- Lord is not among 
the tenets of a philosophy in which the individual, for 
his own sake, scarcely counts. 

This sinking of all individual advantage save post- 
humous honour in the general fund of the common 
good leads to the strange neglect, as it seems to us, 
of honour due to certain leaders, armies, divisions, 
regiments, and ships in the present war. A certain 
detachment goes to a certain place, fighting takes place, 
many thousand men perish on both sides, the enemy 
is defeated, and the war continues. But seldom, in- 
deed, is a word uttered of praise for living men, or of 
glory for ships or corps ; the honour of fighting for the 
general good is enough. The legends of Sparta offer 



380 THE SOUL OF A NATION 

very exact precedents of authentic stories told of the 
fortitude shown by biLshis who have approached most 
nearly to their ideaL When Gongoro, in pursuit of 
the enemy, was struck by an arrow in the eye, he 
continued the chase with the shaft embedded in his 
head. At the close of the battle he submitted to the 
removal of the arrow, but it was so firmly fixed that 
the friend who removed it had to lay Gongoro on 
his back and place a foot upon his head to gain the 
necessary leverage. When the arrow was removed, 
Gongoro sprang up and challenged his friend to mortal 
combat for the indignity impued by the manner in 
which the shaft had been removed. In this philosophy 
cowardice is the greatest of all crimes, and beggars in 
the streets make songs at the expense of any man who 
survives disgrace, even though such disgrace is only 
capture in lair fight. From this comes seppuku or 
haraJciri^ the final act of self-immolation, which the 
biishi or samurai is always ready to commit, whenever 
his honour or that of his master is discredited in any 
way. 

But it would be the greatest of errors to suppose 
that bushido calls upon the faithful for a mere stupid 
sacrifice of life. Nothing could be further fix)m the 
truth. The true ideal of the bushi was admirably 
expressed by Commander Yuasa, when speaking to his 
men before steaming into Port Arthur : — 

" Let every man set aside all thought of making a 
name for himself, but let us all work together for the 
attainment of our object. It is a mistaken idea of 
valour to court death needlessly. Death is not our 
object, but success, and we die in vain if we do not 
attain success. If I die, Lieutenant Yamamoto will 
take the command, and if he is killed you will take 
your orders from the chief warrant officer. Let us 
keep at it till the last man, until we have carried out 
our mission." 

Can anything finer be found in the history of war ? 

Bushido requires its disciples to live with Spartan 



BUSHIDO 881 

simplicity and to avoid every kind of ostentation. 
Content, it thinks, is natural wealth, and luxury arti- 
ficial poverty. Such simplicity is almost universal in 
Japan, and it allows a reverse of fortune to be met 
with ffreater dignity by the Japanese than by a nation 
or individuals to whom the term " ruined " implies a 
mere monetary deficit and a loss of material luxury. 

The philosophic and semi-stoical basis of bushido has 
not improbably been the cause of certain misunder- 
standings between Japanese leaders and some Anglo- 
Saxons at the front. We can imagine a stoic to be 
many things, but we can never picture him as a man 
of the world, even in the best sense of the term, or as 
a hail-fellow-well-met, the " good chap " of current 
slang. A hushi is necessarily the exact reverse of these 
things, believing them all to have a substratum of 
hypocrisy and deceit. He is reserved, austere, polite, 
but distant, thinking that the display of natural dignity 
best honours himself and those with whom he is brought 
in contact. Bnshido may therefore be said to embody 
the ideals of knightly chivalry and of Spartan simplicity, 
and, further, to draw much ftx)m philosophy and the 
purely moral side of the greatest of religions. Loyalty, 
courage, honesty, simplicity, temperance, chastity, and 
charity are one and all cultivated by whomsoever would 
become a husJd. When we sign a treaty of alliance 
with a nation inspired by such lofty ideals, we know 
that its terms will be kept to the last breath of the 
ultimate rag-picker. 

Thirty-seven years ago Japan was a military empire, 
and the ruling class was that of the samurai. If they 
consented to the loss of many cherished rights when 
the modem revival of the nation began, and their 
consent was in itself a splendid practical illustration 
of bushido, they surrendered nothing of their tenets, 
and, while remaining essentially a warrior caste, spread 
abroad among all ranks of the people the code of ethics 
which had won for them their distinguished position in 
the past. Some privileges they lost, but they took a 



882 THE SOUL OF A NATION 

noble revenge, and set about to level up the nation to 
their standard instead of themselves falling below it. 

The principles of bnshido have always had an 
intellectual and literary basis ; the claims of learning 
have been held in as great reverence by the samurai 
as feats of arms. That is a very important point to 
remember, since it explains, as nothing else can, the 
receptivity of modern Japan, prepared by long years of 
intellectual activity to recognise good and evil, to adopt 
one and reject the other. The superficial world of the 
West called the Japanese imitative. That was simply 
untrue, and has done more than anything else to spread 
abroad false ideas of the national genius. It was natural 
that, when the samurai became officers of a modernised 
army and na\y, they should seek to incorporate fresh 
recruits in their ranks from the new sources opened by 
universal service for the career of arms. If oushido is 
intellectually aristocratic, it is politically and socially 
rather the reverse. Any one can become a bushi by con- 
duct in peace and by valour in war ; merit alone recruits 
and maintains its ranks. It is open to the highest and 
the lowest in the land to excel, since neither birth nor 
wealth is required, only personal worth and conduct. 

The government, at the time of the Restoration, 
experienced the need for a moral basis for its system of 
education, and found in bushido and the tenets of the 
samurai a code applicable to all classes of the people. 
None of the existmg creeds was likely to appeal to the 
masses, since allegiance was divided between them, and 
a national religion hardly existed. A moral code based 
on one or the other would have provoked and encouraged 
disunion ; bushido, on the contrary, was a code peculiarly 
suited to promote union of thought, and to serve as a 
system of state ethics which would supply the moral 
side at least of a religious education. When this 
decision was taken, the priesthood of the various 
Eastern faiths was not held in great or general esteem. 
It was ignorant of science and philosophy, and did not 
shine either in conduct or intelligence. The samurai 



BUSHIDO 888 

filled the void, and Imshido offered itself as an admirable 
moral training, interfering in no way with any established 
religions, from many of which, indeed, it had drawn 
some of the finest of its inspirations. Thus the samurai 
became not only the martial leaders of the people, but 
also its instructors in the ethics they had long preferred. 
Vain, indeed, would have been the material rise of 
Japan to power without the fortifying strength of this 
ancient and compendious philosophy. 

The btiski himself is formed among old families of 
samurai almost from the cradle, by his mother as well 
as by his father, since the share taken by the women 
of Japan in the conservation of the ancient tenets 
of bushido has been greatly under-estimated. Their 
honesty, their aptitudes, and their character have been 
almost universally misconceived. 

In the schools Imshido is now regularly taught, 
while all branches of the armed forces, including cadet 
corps, may almost be considered the high schools of 
its learning. When a number of officers of any standing 
or rank are gathered together, it is nine chances in 
ten that the doctrine of bushido is the subject of 
conversation, since the precepts and practices of this 
philosophy exercise a passionate attraction upon those 
who study and endeavour to live in them. 

When the modern revival began in Japan, and men 
began to wander over the world in pursuit of science, 
it was feared that bushido would lose its influence and 
that materialism would dominate, owing to the multi- 
plicity of things that had to be learnt. So firmly, 
however, was it embedded in the history of the people, 
and so energetic were those who held aloft its banners, 
that it has not been overborne, but has rather prospered 
with every material advance of the country. It has, 
in the present war, expressed its full significance and 
attained to the maturity of its fame. Ill-starred, indeed, 
was Russia to have chosen a moment when upon the 
material foundation of modern science was superimposed 
the moral structure of an older age I 



884 THE SOUL OF A NATION 

The corps of officers in particular acts as a great 
ralljdng centre for this school of philosophy, and is 
always on the watch to promote and extend philo- 
sophic and literary culture. Thus, even such apparently 
trivial questions as to whether dancing ana music 
should be permitted for young officers aroused anxious 
debates. It was decided that dancing was to be 
deprecated, and that only certain branches and forms 
of music of a martial and encouramng character should 
be permitted. A Bayreuth festival would be considered 
a debauch and Wagnerism generally a disease. All 
mournful, depressing, or debilitating strains were 
absolutely banned. 

Bushido provides a moral basis for education of a 
sufficiently broad character to adopt and incorporate 
all the greatest teachings of Christianity, while avoiding 
the internecine strife of sects and factions which would 
be likely to follow the acceptance of it as a state 
religion. The ideal of bushido is high. As a system 
of national ethics it is politically admirable, since it 
promotes discipline and union, sinks the individual in 
the state, and affi^rds no room, or no apparent room, 
for sectarianism or dissent. It has no forms and no 
ritual, and is broad-based on vital forces and eternal 
truths. 

We are not, indeed, asked to believe that forty-six 
millions of people practise the principles of bushido in 
all their full significance. If Japan could attain to 
such an ideal, she would conquer not only Russia, but 
the world. Better far would it be for Japan that she 
should lose her material attributes of power than this 
wonderful moral force that creates, sustains, and renews 
it. The Japanese feel, in the words of one of their 
writers, that " we have been raised by Providence to do 
a work in the world, and that work we must do humbly 
and faithfully as opportunity comes to us. Our work, 
we take it, is this : to battle for the right and uphold 
the good, and to help to make the world fair and clean, 
so that none may ever have cause to regret that Japan 



BUSHIDO 885 

has at last taken her rightful place among the nations 
of the world." 

Whatever views we may entertain as to biisffidoj 
there can be no possible doubt that its teachings supply 
the moral forces which we see to-day in action. They 
explain much, and help us to understand the spirit with 
which the war is waged by Japan. 

How far they will maintain their hold upon the 
people in the flood-tide of victory, or under the ebb of 
defeat, it will be for the future to tell us. But it is 
certain that, if the masses of the people prove them- 
selves worthy of these high ideals during a long and 
wearing struggle, they will raise btcshido to a height 
that will astonish even themselves, and make its 
doctrines worthy not merely of this passing notice 
in an English journal, but of searching inquiry 
and consideration by the best brains of our Western 
intellectuals. 



25 



CHAPTER XXXIV » 

THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO, 
OCTOBER 9—17 

The Timet, October 8. 

There are some reports which cannot be lightly passed 
by to the effect that Kuropatldn is meditating the 
offensive. It is apparently believed that the Russians 
now have a considerable numerical preponderance, and, 
if Stossel's situation is less rosy than his despatches 
make out, Kuropatkin will be aware of the fact and 
may indeed have been asked to make one more effort 

If, as seems possible, Kuropatkin may yet receive 
the command of the two armies of Manchuria if he can 
score a victory, knowledge of the fact would not incline 
him to inaction, while the feeling in the anny itself is 
not a matter to which he can close his eyes. At a 
recent banquet at Mukden, following a presentation of 
colours to certain regiments. General Baron Stackel- 
berg drank to the health of General Kuropatkin, who 
was present, and coupled with it a toast " to the march 
on Liiauyang." This story comes from M. Recouly, 
who was at the banquet, and it may therefore be taken 
as authentic. The matter is, perhaps, of no great 
importance in itself, but it shows that there are 
influences at work which may bring about a change 
of plan at any moment. We may also note that the 
indefatigable Gadke is lea\ing Mukden for the south 

» Compiled from articles in The Times of October 8, U, 15, 18, and 20, 
1904. 

380 



FIRST MANCHURIAN ARMY 387 

and that the correspondent of the Lokalanzeigei' is 
similarly inspired and talks of " imminent operations." 
Lastly, M. Recouly also left Mukden for the south on 
Wednesday evening last. He talks of the extraordinary 
animation that reigns at Mukden, declares that the 
railway trains are all crammed, and that the movement 
of the Russian masses presents a most imposing 
spectacle. 

These warnings, and the fact that Kuropatkin and 
all his staff attended an open-air service on Wednesday 
morning, are all storm-portents which no intelligence 
department would ignore. If we hesitate to trust them 
implicitly owing to the fact that the censor has let 
them pass, it is also credible that the Russians may not 
think there is the least chance of concealing a move- 
ment of this importance from the Japanese. 

There is no doubt that the Russian army, like its 
enemy, has been strongly reinforced. Moreover the 
units coming in from the west are now up to their full 
war establishments, while the supply of drafts to make 
good losses appears to be working well. 

Excluding the troops which fall to Generals Gripen- 
berg and Linievitch, the First Manchurian Army will 
in future consist of one Siberian Army Corps, three 
East Siberian, and three Western Corps, or seven army 
corps of 14 divisions, making up a grand total of 
250,000 men and 800 guns when all the ranks are 
filled up. This will not have been the case as yet, 
since the transport of the 6th Siberian Corps of the 
Second Army has occupied the railway ; but in view of 
the great improvements effected in the through traffic 
it would not be safe to reckon Kuropatkin's force at 
less than 220,000 men at this moment, and if the 
6th Corps is available for the impending operations the 
figure may be 260,000. 

Considering the superior quality and leading of 
the Japanese, the passage of the Hun and the attack 
upon the three Japanese armies in their fortified position 
are enterprises that promise success. The Russian 



388 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

army has twice taken the offensive — at the Motienling 
and on September 2. In each case it has failed 
against inferior forces, and there is no evidence why, 
under present circumstances, a third attempt should 
meet with any better fortune. At the same time, the 
advantages accruing to the offensive are so very con- 
siderable when they are skilfully used that a Russian 
advance will have certain points in its favour, and the 
credit of the Tsar's armies will be largely retrieved if 
they can gain some measure of success in their bold 
and dangerous attempt. Whether the idea is to throw 
the weight of the attack upon the Japanese right, left, 
or centre, there is at present nothing to show, but we 
may notice that a Japanese reconnaissance found the 
enemy five miles to the north of Penhsihu, and that the 
Russians displayed a determination to hold their ground. 
Up to a certain point the position is that of the late 
battle of Liauyang with the rdles reversed, and if the 
Russians take their courage in both hands and come on, 
no one should be better pleased than Marshal Oyama. 



The Times, October 11. 

General Kuropatkin's order, dated Mukden, Octo- 
ber 2, confirms the rumours of a Russian advance to 
which we alluded last week. It is, indeed, next to 
impossible that this offensive should not now be under- 
taken after the issue of an order distinctly stating that 
the moment for the attack, ardently desired by the 
army, had at last arrived, and that the Japanese are to 
be compelled to do Russia's will, a task for which they 
have hitherto displayed so little aptitude. The order 
is addressed directly to the army of Manchuria, and 
indirectly to the Russian people, and to the world at 
large. Its purpose is to restore confidence and promote 
enthusiasm, and for that purpose it is well conceived. 

We need not quarrel with the pleasing retrospect 
of the war with which the general presents us. The 
art of addressing troops, in which Napoleon was such a 



KUROPATKIN'S ORDER 889 

past-master, defies analysis and criticism. We do not 
look for history in a Bulletin de la Gh^ande Armcc ; we 
look for tlie sacred fire of leadership, the inspiration and 
imagination which prompts or recounts great deeds. 
Who can forget that trumpet-call of 1815 ? — " Pour tout 
fran^ais qui a du coeur le moment est venu pour vaincre 
ou mounr 1 " Who, even to-day, can look in the eyes 
of a French regiment, even at the close of the longest 
day, without seeing the spark that only requires the 
divine gift of leadership to stir into consuming flame ? 
If any one desires to know why Napoleon laid Conti- 
nental Europe at his feet, he has but to go to France, 
in any September that suits him, and if he does not 
read the secret of the Napoleonic epic, then it need only 
be said that he is greatly to be pitied. 

The proclamations of great generals to their armies 
— to those about to die — have something almost sacred 
about them. We raise our hats, make no comment, 
and pass on. To each army its own note. One can 
swallow grandiloquence at which a second would scoff; 
a third may be inspired by revenge, a fourth by duty. 
There is something to be said even for the English 
general who asked his men if they meant to be beaten 
by a lot of orange-sucking Spaniards. It is all a matter 
of taste and nationality. 

But there is one feature in the policy announced 
that will cause a rare tapage among the shades of the 
great warriors in Olympus. Kuropatkin adopts the 
words of Dragomiroff, and says to the Japanese, " Take 
care, enemy, I am marching on you ! " That is very 
honourable, even magnificent, but it is not war, and 
Napoleonic war least of all. The order is dated 
October 2, and, if it reached the Japanese, they 
should be fully prepared. If rumour pointed that way 
before, there is all the difference in the world between 
conjecture and certainty, and armies who are beaten 
afler a week s warning of the enemy's attack richly 
deserve all the misfortunes that befall them. 

It is not the Napoleonic conception. ** Faites 



390 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

defense," writes Napoleon to Foueh^ during the march 
to the Rhine, " faites defense aux gazettes des bords du 
Rhin de parler de Tarm^e, pas plus que si elle n'existait 
pas." To his last days Napoleon knew how to hurl his 
concentrated forces into the very midst of the hostile 
cantonments and to surprise the enemy by his onset. 
The concentration of the French army in 1815 is an 
unsurpassable model of one of the fine arts of war. 

We have already given the various reasons calcu- 
lated to cause a Russian offensive movement at this 
juncture — ^the question of the personal equation involved 
in the command, the undertaking to attack when the 
Russian army reached a certain strength, and finally 
the plight of Port Arthur and the never-ceasing 
attraction of that always fatal magnet We can read 
all these things in Kuropatkin's order, but perhaps we 
have not yet stated the Port Arthur attraction strongly 
enough. " Bear in mind," says the General, " the 
importance of victory to Russia, and, above all, 
remember how necessary victory is the more speedily 
to relieve our brothers at Port Arthur." Above all, 
the relief of Port Arthur! How well some of us 
remember that cry before Ladysmith, and what it cost 
us to get through ! 

It is clear that the decision to advance was taken 
towards the end of September, and it is necessary to 
glance back and recall a few incidents that have occurred. 
There is no doubt that General Stossel's despatches upon 
the fighting round Port Arthur between September 19 
and 23 reached St. Petersburg a few days later, and 
that the second part of his report, bringing the story 
up to September 80, was in the hands of the Tsar soon 
afterwards. It is difficult to believe that the plight of 
Port Arthur does not stand out as the teterrima causa 
of the decision taken by Kuropatkin to advance. We 
have his word for it, and we are bound to beUeve 
him. Moreover, an emissary of the Viceroy s — namely. 
Captain Klado, reached the Russian capital during the 
third week in September, and following immediately 



THE JAPANESE CENTRE 391 

upon these events we had to record the formation of 
a second Manchurian army and the publication of the 
Tsar's rescript. 

The chances are that Port Arthur is in worse case 
than its gallant commander admits, and that, in view 
of the reinforcements he has lately received, General 
Kuropatkin has been either ordered or permitted to 
stake a viaanmum upon the gaming-table of war. 

We have nothing from Marshal Oyama of later 
date than October 4, and there is not much to be 
gathered from the record of Russian reconnaissances on 
that day, save that the enemy's post at Changtan, on 
the right bank of the Hun, had apparently withdrawn. 
If the Manchurian army were thoroughly mobile in all 
its parts, there would be many alternatives open to the 
Russian general. But, until proof is given to the 
contrary, and in view of the large numbers employed, 
we are almost bound to believe that the railway must 
remain the axis of the march to the south. In this 
case the Russian masses will be found within a day's 
march or two on each side of the line, and the main 
weight of the attack will not readily be diverted to a 
great distance from the railway owing to difficulties 
connected with supply.* 

No one has yet told us where the Japanese mean 
to stand, and in default of detailed maps of the country 
we have no certain guide to the positions they are likely 
to have chosen. AH we know is that the Japanese 
centre is somewhere on the line of the Yentai branch 
railway, and, as the Russians halted here after their 
defeat at Liauyang, the presumption is that there is 
some kind of position suitable for defence. Whether 
Oyama holds this ground as his main position, however, 
or whether he merely occupies it with an advanced 
guard, there is nothing to show. The Yentai mines 
are certainly important, and if the plant and workings 

' ** During the liattle tiie commissariat arrangemenU broke down, and 
for two days the 1st Siberian Corps had no rations issuett to them.**— I^rd 
Brooke, An Eye- WitnetM in Mancknritt, p. 223. 



892 THE BATl^LE OF THE SHAHO 

were not damaged by the Russians in their retreat it 
would be an object of the Japanese to hold them. But 
they are not likely to repeat our mistake in North- 
Eastem Natal, or to allow their general strategy to be 
dictated by such secondary considerations as the position 
of coal mines. They appear to have bridged all the 
rivers and repaired the roads within the zone of 
immediate operations ; they are fresh and fit, and we 
have word of a fourth army which appears to have 
escaped the ken of the arithmeticians at Mukden. All 
we can yet be sure of is that if the Russian masses 
come on and deliver a headlong attack a la Suvaroff 
upon an intrenched position with three or four Japanese 
armies holding it, we shall soon hear of one of the 
bloodiest fights recorded in the annals of modem war. 



The Thnet, October 16. 

One of the bloodiest fights recorded in the annals of 
modem war has been fought out during the past week 
in Manchuria, and all the available evidence points to 
the failure of the Russian attack. We have already 
given some of the reasons that appear to have inspired 
General Kuropatkin's decision to assume the offensive. 
Upon these points we can be well content to await the 
further explanations which will no doubt follow the 
closing scenes of the great conflict. 

But given the decision to attack, what was the 
Russian view of the military situation that brought 
about the particular tactics of the movements of the 
last six days ? We have it from a great many sources 
that a curiously low estimate of the Japanese army was 
made by the Russians at Mukden early in the month. 
Detailed estimates have, indeed, been published which 
purported to account for every unit under Marshal 
Oyama, and allowed him 130,000 men less than the 
Russians were alleged to possess. Moreover, it was 
said that the Japanese troops were downcast and 
exhausted. " On pretend," says a French correspondent 



AN ART OF WAR 393 

in close touch with the St. Petersburg War Office, " on 
pretend qu'elles presentent des indices de reel ^puise- 
ment." From the army at the front tliere also came 
word of Japanese prisoners clothed in rags and famish- 
ing. Both materially and morally the Japanese army 
was thus apparently rated low by its enemy, who dis- 
played his customary capacity for crediting nothing 
save things that he wished to believe. The spreading 
of false information in the enemy's camp is one of the 
many fine arts of war. It is generally greatly neglected 
owing to want of imagination, but it is all the same a 
potent means of military action, and one that deserves 
more attention than it receives. 

There can be no doubt that the information of the 
Japanese has been as consistently good, early, and 
accurate as that of the Russians has been the reverse. 
Nor were there any signs that the very simple reasons 
for the Japanese inaction after Liauyang were ever 
properly understood at Kuropatkin's headquarters. It 
was put down to exhaustion, to surprise at the numbers 
and valour of the Russian troops, and to dread of 
resuming the offensive against such a mighty antagonist. 
The construction of defences by the Japanese to the 
north of the Taitse was taken as additional evidence of 
weakness. A German professor of the art of war, with 
his usual acumen, assured the world that the Japanese 
impetus was at an end, while in the friendly and allied 
nation of France those many genial spirits who have 
stuck to their friends in a fashion that speaks more for 
their hearts than their heads informed their readers that 
the terrible Russian will was now coming into play, and 
that the Japanese had nothing to do but to bend their 
heads and submit to the inevitable. This entrancing 
panorama of a state of things that did not exist seems 
to have exercised an unfortunate influence upon the 
Russian command and to have strengthened the 
generally false views which appear to have prevailed at 
Mukden. M. Marcel Hutin, of the Echo de Parous. 
whose information has been generally correct. (|uoted 



394 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

textually a telegram from Kuropatkin in a message 
despatched from St. Petersburg on October 10. This 
telegram reads as follows : " My intention is to advance 
slowly, so as to go surely. I shall fortify intermediate 
positions. The main body of Kuroki's army appears 
to be falling back upon Liauyang, where a battle will 
probably soon take place. Yentai, although fortified, 
will doubtless not resist for long." If we may take this 
telegram as authentic, it conveys the impression that the 
Russian commander anticipated a defensive attitude 
on the part of his enemy, and that all his plans were 
laid with this preconceived idea in his mind. 

Far from being either exhausted or reduced in num- 
bers or wanting in confidence, the Japanese army was itself 
on the eve of resuming its advance when Kuropatkin 
crossed the Hun. Had the Russians waited but a few 
days longer they would have found no need for a march 
to the south. Far from being committed to a defensive 
attitude or to passive resistance behind works of fortifi- 
cation, the Japanese were straining at the leash and 
were just as e^fer to assail their enemy as he was to 
attack them. For the resulting situation Kuropatkin 
was wholly unprepared. His plan of action, so far as 
we can judge of it by the reports from the battlefield, 
appears to have aimed at a concentric movement upon 
Liauyang from north and east. He seems to have 
allotted seven divisions to the attack from the north 
and six to that from the east, retaining in his own hands 
a general reserve which in all probability did not exceed 
three divisions, since it is not likely that he has more 
than sixteen all told. His hope, if French corre- 
spondents are to be believed, was to surround and 
besiege the Japanese at Liauyang, and then, when they 
were securely shut up, to send a strong force off to the 
south to stretch out a hand to the defenders of Port 
Arthur. The fact that the Viceroy placed his vis^ on 
this plan and that GiUnsky graced the field with his 
approving presence does not appear to have inspired 
Kuropatkin with any qualms. 



PENHSIHU 395 

The Japanese occupied a semicircular position from 
Ventai to Penhsihu on the Taitse facing north and east. 
It was, so far as modern warfare goes, and in view of 
the large numbers at disposal, a fairly concentrated 
position, and the army reserves south of the Yentai 
mines were within an easy march of any part of the 
line. It was what the French very aptly call a position 
d'attente. Immediately the design of the Russian com- 
mander was observed on Sunday, October 9, Marshal 
Oyama decided to attack, thinking that he might be 
able to do so before all the Russian colunms were 
south of the Hun. He was determined, in any case, 
to seek out the enemy's masses and assail them with 
the utmost vigour wherever they might be found. It 
was a bold decision and it was highly inconvenient for 
Kuropatkin. 

The first initiative, however, was with the Russians, 
and brought them a preliminary measure of success. 
In two fierce attacks their left, consisting of the 1st, 
2nd, and 3rd Siberian Corps, under General Baron 
Stackelberg, with Rennenkampf's and SamsonofTs 
cavalry divisions, carried positions near Penhsihu and 
in the vicinity of the Ta Pass immediately to the north 
of that hamlet. Bodies of Cossacks and infantry also 
crossed the Taitse, and momentarily interrupted the 
communications between the Japanese garrison of Pen- 
lisihu and Hsihoyen. It was indispensable for the 
success of the Russian operations that the Taling and 
Penhsihu should fall, so that the bulk of the left column 
should be able to utilise and descend the Taitse Valley 
towards Liauyang to co-operate with the main attack 
from the north. But Kuroki s well-tried troops held 
firm in their main position at these most important 
points, and on the arrival of reinforcements on the 10th 
recaptured the ground they had lost. A flying column 
despatched south of the river also drove away the 
Russians who had crossed, and then rejoined the army. 
This failure at Penhsihu wrecked Kuropatkin's scheme, 
prevented the anticipated co-operation of the two 



396 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

Russian attacks, and by securing Oyama's threatened 
flank allowed him to pursue his offensive plans, with 
the main body of his armies on his centre and left in 
relative security, and with the knowledge that Kuroki 
was holding off three Russian army corps fix)m the 
decisive quarter of the field. 

Throughout the whole of the 10th and 11th the 
battle raged along the general front The apparent 
purpose of the Japanese commander was to make a 
wheel to the right, with the Penhsihu garrison as a 
pivot, in order to turn the Russian right and to throw 
the whole of the enemy's army off its line of retreat 
and press it away to the east. General Oku, with the 
Left Army, opened the attack and quickly drove back 
the Russians m his front to Shihliho. On the 11th the 
Russians were reinforced, but after stubborn fighting 
the Japanese gained ground at all points, especially in 
front of Kuroki, where the resistance broke down 
towards evening and the Russians began to retreat. 
General Nodzu, with the Centre Army, co-operating 
in turn with his comrades to right and left, continued 
the attack on the night of the 11th and made the first 
capture of Russian guns. Opposed directly to Nodzu 
was General ZarubaiefTs 4th Siberian Corps, forming 
the connecting link between the Russian wings, and 
the defeat of this corps exposed the flanks of the two 
Russian attacks and compelled Stackelberg to divert 
one of his corps to retrieve the situation. Oku, mean- 
while, had been reinforced on the left, and upon the 
valour of his army depended the extent and nature of 
the Japanese success. It was not till the 12th that 
a decision was reached in this part of the field, but 
between dusk on that day and dawn on the 13th the 
Left Army carried out its purpose, and by means of 
a night attack flung back the Russian right to the line 
of the Shaho, where a defensive position had been 
prepared. General Nodzu and the Central Army also 
saw their enemy give ground at 2 p.m. on the aft^er- 
noon of the 12th. The action of General Oku in 



THE CLOSING SCENES 897 

particular appears to have been of an important cha- 
racter, and the capture of twenty-five guns by his 
three columns is proof of the successful character of 
the engagement in this part of the field. The fighting 
was resumed on the 13th, and this day General Kuro- 
patkin had no comfort to offer his Imperial master. 
He only spoke of retreats, and from his allusion to the 
necessity of supporting the Russian *' advanced guards " 
from the " main positions " we are left to infer that 
the general reserve had been already drawn into the 
conflict and more or less committed. 

The situation of the Russians on the evening of 
the 18th was indeed exceedingly serious. They had 
been driven back in every part of the field, they had 
lost heavily, and at least thirty-eight guns remained 
in their enemy's hands. Oku, like St. Cyr after 
Desaix's happy intervention at Marengo, was much 
nearer to the bridges on the enemy's line of retreat 
than was a large part of the opposing army ; a little 
more hesitation, and the defeat threatened to become 
a rout. Kuropatkin issued the order that the troops 
should hold their ground at all costs during the 14tn. 
This order applied with particular force to his right, 
since, if retreat became necessary, it was only under 
the shelter of a stout defence on this flank that the 
centre and left could regain the bridges and fords of 
the Hun. 

We are, indeed, still without the conclusive evidence 
which prudent men await before talking of victory or 
defeat ; but the conspicuous absence of Russian suc- 
cesses throughout a week of combat, and the serious 
losses suffered by the Tsars armies, do not warrant 
any expectation that the judgment of the god of 
battles will be reversed. The Russians have made 
their effort, and very gallant it has been, but the 
effort has manifestly failed, and it only remains to 
ascertain how the closing scenes of tliis bloody drama 
will end. 



398 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 



The Timet, October 18. 

The latest reports from the great battlefield of Man- 
churia place the defeat of the Russian army beyond a 
doubt. Thirteen thousand three hundred and thirty- 
three Russian dead have been left on the field, and on 
all sides the Tsar's army is in fiill retreat. 

In the previous actions of the war it has been the 
rule to find from four to six wounded for every man 
killed, on such occasions as complete reports have been 
rendered. It is, therefore, not excessive to believe that 
the Russian casualties amount to over 60,000 * men, 
exclusive of prisoners. As it is clear that General 
Kuropatkin brought into the field every man and gun 
of the Army of Manchuria, inclusive of the 6th Siberian 
Corps properly belonging to General Gripenberg's 
army, it is not possible to reckon the Russian com- 
batants on the field at a lower figure than 260,000 
sabres and rifles and 900 guns. The casualties, up 
to and including October 14, therefore amount, in all 
probability, to 25 per cent, of the force engaged. 

Intelligent comprehension of the course of the action 
after Wednesday, October 12, has been obscured by 
Kuropatldn's repeated assurance that he had issued 
orders to all troops to hold their ground on and after 
the 13th. But news flashes quickly round the world, 
and something of this may have been intended to mis- 
lead. There is at least a strong probability that by the 
morning of the 18th the Russian general recognised 
that the game was up and that the attack had failed. 
The turning movement upon the Taitse under Stackel- 
berg and Rennenkampf had totally miscarried with 
very heavy loss. Generals Zarubaieff and Ivanoff had 
been forced to give ground before Nodzu, and a further 
success of the enemy in this quarter threatened to 
pierce the centre of the widely-extended line. Finally, 
on the Russian right, Kuropatkin was himself witness 

' '' It was found that the total casualties were fully 76,000." — Lord Brooke, 
An Etfe-Witneet in Manchuria, p. 226. 



RUSSIANS RETREAT 399 

of the desperate efforts of General Oku to seize the line 
of the Shaho, and he must have been well aware that 
any failure here would irretrievably condemn the whole 
army to disaster. 

Despite assurances to the contrary, it is almost 
certain that by the 18th every unit of the army had 
been engaged save the 6th Corps, which Kuropatkin 
not improbably hoped to retain intact, and even the 
advance of this corps did not guarantee victory. In 
these depressing circumstances, and being as he was 
without a single favourable report from any part of the 
field, it is probable that Kuropatkin decided upon a 
retreat by midday on the 18th. 

In view of the dangerous situation of the army it was 
indispensable that the Russian left should retreat first 
and that Zarubaieff in the centre should hold firm till 
the troops from the Taitse were due east of him. 
Further, that the Russian right on the Shaho should 
hold its ground at all costs till the night of Saturday, 
when the Russian centre would be in process of with- 
drawal in its turn. Even then the subsequent retreat 
of the Russian right across the Hun presented immense 
difficulties if the impetuous Oku persisted in his 
attacks. It was also necessary that strong rearguards, 
mainly of cavalry, should hold their ground and impose 
upon the Japanese commanders at each point, so that the 
infantry, guns, and convoys should obtain a good start. 

We pick up the threads of the subsequent sequence 
of events from various sources other than Russian. On 
the night of the 13th the corps on the Russian left, 
leaving their cavalry in position, quietly withdrew, and, 
marching hard all through the night, placed themselves 
out of danger twenty-four hours later. It was not till 
the afternoon of the 14th that Kuroki discovered that 
the birds had flown. Then, according to Marshal 
Oyama, signs of wavering were seen in the Russian 
ranks, columns of pursuit were formed, and no doubt 
Rennenkamprs Cossacks promptly mounted and sped 
away as fast as their horses' legs could carry them. 



400 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

The Russians by this time should be masters of 
retreats, provided anything in this world can be leamt 
by practice, and under modern conditions nothing is 
more difficult than to ascertain whether an enemy 
holding a position is strong or weak. Kuroki for once 
was bluffed, and it is not for us to carp when we recall 
how often the same fate befell us in South Africa in 
practically identical circumstances, Zarubaieff' in the 
centre took up the retreat in his turn on the 14th, and 
this day Nodzu forced him north of the Shaho, while 
Kuroki, hastening up with all his army, appears to have 
aligned himself on Nodzu^s right after a forced march. 
We hear nothing of Prince Kanin and the Russians 
south of the Taitse, but the chances are that the 
latter also got away to the north under cover of the 
Cossack rearguards. 

The success of this retreat depended upon the firm 
countenance of the troops on the Shaho, and upon the 
night of the 13th it was touch and go whether Oku 
would break through at this vital point Aft;er .a 
desperate struggle the centre of the Russian army corps 
on the Mandarin road was broken, and ftirther away 
to the Russian right another dangerous flank attack 
gained ground. In this quarter General Bilderling 
commanded, having under him the 10th and 17th 
Western Army Corps, and possibly also the 1st, while 
the 6th Siberian Corps, acting as the army reserve, was 
stationed some way in the rear. It was apparently the 
17th Corps that was broken by the attack of the 
Japanese, and the 6th Corps that re-established the fight 
after a terrible conflict had raged round Shahopao, which 
was taken and retaken several times during the night, 
but remained at last in Russian hands. 

On the 14th General Oku continued his attack 
upon the Shaho line ; his right took the heights near 
Hwangkiutien by 1 p.m. ; his centre established itself 
on the hills south of Shahopao, while his left crossed 
the Shaho and repulsed several counter-attacks. The 
succeeding night passed quietly on this side, and thus 



THE BATTLE ofTH£ 6NAH0. 

PLAN ® 

To Uiustfitc^e Russian Advance on Oct.S^ 




mitif*^^ Stt'i'ftir^A^mtM^ Ho.Ox^r^. ** 



YAMADA'S MISHAP 40J 

thirty-six hours were gained for the Russian left and 
centre to make good their retreat to the rear. 

On the 14th the customary dehige caused by the 
heavy firing began to inundate the battlefield ; the 
roads became deep in mud, and all movements became 
difficult to execute. The troops on both sides must 
also have been nearly exhausted after five days' con- 
tinuous fighting night and day. Nevertheless the 
indomitable Japanese pressed on, and by the evening of 
the 15th, despite stubborn resistance, Shahopao and 
Lamuntun were taken. 

We have to congratulate our gallant allies upon a 
splendid victory won in a fair field with no favour, 
while they themselves would be the first to admit 
that the Russians fought with the utmost pluck and 
determination. 

The Timt»*t October 20. 

Marshal Ovama's despatch explains the mishap that 
befell the detachment under Brigadier-General Yamada 
on the evening of Monday, October 17,' and disposes 
of the Russian hopes which were founded on an 
incident of no great importance. 

The Russian right, as we know, had employed 
Sunday in delivering no less than seven counter-attacks 
upon the left column of General Oku's army, all of 
which were beaten back. General Yamada took part 
in the repulse of these attacks, and e\en penetrated 
the Russian line of battle, where he made prize of 
two guns. 

The day of Octol)er 17 passed without any serious 
engagements throughout the whole front of the armies, 
and towards evening Yamada marched back on his 
return to camp. During his march he was enveloped 
and assailed on all sides by an overpowering force under 
General Putiloff', and after a fierce encounter he was 

• According to Lord Brooke (-4 n Eye-yVihirMit in Manchuria) and Mr. Baring 
( JVi7A the Htusiatut in Manchuria) this inrideiit ocrurre<l on the nij^ht of 
October IG. 

26 



402 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

overwhelmed. His infantry, or such of them as 
survived, broke through and fought theh: way back, 
but with heavy loss, and at the price of the abandon- 
ment of six field and five mountain guns, the first 
Japanese cannon captured by the Russians during the 
war, while 600 Japanese dead were buried by the 
Russians on the hill. 

The gallant stand of the Russians on the Shaho 
thus met with a very well-merited reward, and this 
success will do something, at least, to soften the 
bitterness of defeat ; but the incident is without other 
importance, and it has had no serious consequences. It 
was, indeed, immediately followed by a fresh Russian 
misfortune, since on Monday night two fierce attacks 
delivered upon Oku's right column were repulsed with 
loss, while minor attacks at other points met with the 
same fate. 

It is only when artillery leaves its comrades in 
the lurch and retreats precipitately that a force retiring 
imder diflSculties can make an absolute certainty of 
preserving all its guns ; under modem conditions, and 
m such a difficult country as Manchuria, the loss of 
artillery during a retreat must often happen, and is no 
dishonour to the troops engaged, and least of all to the 
gunners themselves. The fine stand of the Russian 
right upon the Shaho from October 12 to 14 inclusive 
appears to have imposed upon the Japanese command, 
and from Saturday to Monday last the Japanese advance 
on this side has not been pressed, and tne initiative in 
this part of the field, or a colourable imitation of it, has 
been allowed to pass into Russian hands. We hear, 
indeed, that the Russian forces on October 17 were 
increasing in front of the Japanese centre and left, but 
this report must be read in connection with Oyama s 
earlier message sent off at midnight on October 15-16, 
which stated that the Russians were insufficient in 
numbers on the right bank of the Shaho to give battle, 
and that only cavalry were offering resistance in front 
of the centre. 



OYAMA'S INACTION 403 

To observers at a distance it seemed natural, in 
such circumstances, that Oyama should press forward 
to the Hun to gather the full fruits of victory by 
ranging his troops within gunshot, at least, of the 
brio^Bfes and fords over which the Russian army appeared 
to be in full retreat. That course does not appear to 
have commended itself to Marshal Oyama, who seems 
to have unaccountably relapsed into what Muffling 
once described as "the digestion of joy caused by 
victory." 

There may, indeed there must, be an explanation 
for this inaction, but it is not at present forthcoming. 
If we look to the other side we certainly see all the 
importance of a stand on the Shaho and of the repeated 
ana impetuous attacks which seem to have arrested 
Oku's advance for three long days, but the suggestion 
which has been made that these attacks imply a 
renewed advance on Kuropatkin s part or an expectation 
of a prompt reversal of the verdict given by a week of 
fighting appears to be unworthy of credence. 

The attacks themselves, as we see, are partial, 
disconnected, and repeated ; they rather show nervous- 
ness, and bear no sort of resemblance to the procedure 
that we should expect in the event of the arrival of fresh 
forces and the turn of the tide in Russian fav^our. They 
were not even first reported by Kuropatkin, but by 
Sakharoff, the dabbler in trifles, and even he can only 
say, like a critic in Europe, that certain things " appear 
from reports " to be as he suggests. He only 
has it, in short, at second hand. There is evidently 
Something behind, something that we h»ve not been 
told, that would supply the key to the real situa- 
tion if one or other of the commanders chose to tell 
all his mind. 

There can be no doubt whatever that the Russian 
army has suffered one of the most overwhelming defeats 
of its histoiy, and that after a fortnight's hard marching 
and nine days' hard fighting, with little food or sleep, 
it has been reduced by terrible losses and depressing 



404 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

fatigues to a condition bordering on extenuation. All 
accounts, official and unofficial, agree that the men are 
utterly weary and done up, that the roads and fields 
are covered by crowds of wounded, and that Mukden 
has become one great hospital, with more patients than 
the medical staff can manage. We are told, too, by 
Renter's Agent at the town, that the inability of the 
country to support a large army is becoming more and 
more evident, and we are almost asked to conclude 
from this statement that there has been a failure in 
supply to add to the Russian General's many other 
troubles. It is not possible to believe that any fi'esh 
reserves exist, since we have been expressly told, on 
the same authority, that every man and gun of the 
Manchurian army has been employed, and after 
Kuropatkin's order of the day no other course of 
action was to have been expected. He has staked the 
mcLOcimum^ he has lost, and grim death, that villainous 
croupier, is now raking in his gains. For all these 
reasons the recrudescence of Russian activity on the 
Shaho cannot be attributed to any councils save those 
of despair. We do not know the number and con- 
dition of the bridges on the Hun, but the chances are 
that there have been extreme confusion and congestion 
at the points of crossing, and that the stand on the 
Shaho, so gallantly prolonged, has been the sole means 
of saving the right of the army and perhaps the 
centre too. 

A good and sufficient reason for the Japanese in- 
action on the Shaho may be the exhaustion of the 
troops and the necessity for replenishing supplies and 
ammunition. Now that a very general anticipation 
of keen students of war has been realised, and that 
battles tend to run into weeks rather than hours or 
days, the famous remark ** Hard pounding, gentlemen, 
let's see who will pound longest " must be addressed 
in particular to the staff of the line of communications 
and to the commanders of supply and ammunition 
columns and parks. After 1870 it was generally agreed 



MISTAKES OF GENERALS 405 

that troops could not be supplied on the l)attlefield by 
the normal functioning of rearward services, and that 
troops would ha>'e to take into action such iron ratioivs 
and such amnuniition as would carry them through a 
long battle lasting for two or three days. It is evident 
that we must enlarge our ideas upon these points now, 
when great armies are in the field, since we ha\'c no 
longer only wars of exhaustion, but also battles of the 
same character, and victory may often rest not so much 
with the last man as with the last round and the last 
biscuit. 

Who ventures to say the amount of ammunition 
required for a fortnight's battle, continued by day 
and night, between armies provided with quick-firing 
artillery and modern rifles ? Evidently the supply 
must be immense to prevent paralysis, and it is no 
matter for wonder that Kuropatkin himself, after Liau- 
yang, found cause to upbraid his gunners for running 
through their ammunition in a few hours. Neither 
side will, of course, tell us when they run short during 
an action ; but we shall probably learn, in due season, 
that the expenditure of ammunition has been unpre- 
cedented, and that many units have been out of action 
for long owing to this cause. 

Whatever the true reason of the stagnation on the 
Shaho, it will certainly afford no one any surprise if 
many mistakes are made in the command of great 
armies by generals on both sides who have no experi- 
ence of the leading of such masses of men save what 
they are now in course of accumulating day by day. 
How many of the great marshals of the Empire could 
Napoleon dare trust with the command of 100,000 or 
even 50,000 men ? Davoust, Massena, Soult, perhaps, 
and one or two more, but most of his generals were 
certainly not fit to command a larger number than 
30,000 men. Even Napoleon himself, like any common 
mortal, inade mistakes, and allowed Mortier in 1805 
and V^andamme in 1813 to be attacked and overwhelmed 
by the enemy s united columns. Can we expect a 



406 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

Kuropatkin or Oyama to fail to err where Napoleon 
sinned ? 

Modern science, it is true, enables a directing staff 
to retain close touch with commanders, no matter how 
far away ; but only experience can utilise these new 
powers to the utmost advantage, while the withdrawal 
of the personal influence of the commander from the 
critical points of contact makes it more and more in- 
dispensable that subordinate officers of all ranks should 
possess mitiative and the resolution necessary to carry 
on the battle when unforeseen events occur. 

It is not our business, as the allies of Japan, to 
criticise the leading of her armies with anything but 
extreme circumspection, or to use the far-reaching 
influence of the British press to exalt a renown which 
the Russian commander has done comparatively little 
as yet to deserve. But when results are summed 
up, neither Oyama nor Kuropatkin can expect, any 
more than Napoleon, to find history oblivious of 
faults. 

We may, for example, find that history will say 
that the prudent and careful strategy which united 
the three Japanese armies on the battlefield of Liau- 
yang, after a march through the mountains that gave 
the enemy no chance of a successful counter-stroke, was 
a great and praiseworthy operation that went near to 
genius, but that when these armies were thus united 
Oyama was unable to profit by an unusually favour- 
able situation. History may say that the Japanese 
Headquarters Staff, from Kaiping onwards, never 
adequately realised the asset they possessed in Kuroki's 
army at the Motienling, that they continued to throw 
needless numbers to their left, giving themselves up 
to the pleasures of a stern chase when they were in a 
position to act much more effectively by their right, 
nad genius rather than talent distinguished the com- 
mand. History may add that Oyama might have 
drawn two or more divisions to him from Port Arthur 
for the purpose of the battle of Liauyang, and that his 



ERRORS ON BOTH SIDES 407 

failure to utilise his eentral situation in this manner 
detracted much from the completeness of his victory. 
Kuropatkin also will ha> e to run the gauntlet of 
criticism, since success in war is a general's business, 
his only excuse indeed for existing, and if he fails he 
becomes as bankrupt in his business as any grocer does 
in his. The world only worships success, and history, 
inclining before mammon, is severe upon the van- 

Suished. We can hardly expect the historian to waste 
owers of speech upon a general who, in this last battle, 
staked success upon a turning movement in the 
mountains by a column consisting of two cavalry 
divisions and infantry with guns intended for use in 
the plains. Cavalry, of course, has occasionally scaled 
mountains, and field guns, of a specially cumbrous type, 
have now and again been dragged up gradients of forty 
degrees, as at Schwartzkop, or even up precipices, as 
at Colesberg ; but when the fate of an army depends 
upon success, and the tops of the precipices are lined 
by victorious Japanese with some talent for fighting, 
the procedure is not exactly the best calculated to 
advance the interests of the Tsar. 

History, in short, will have much to say of the 
eiTors committed on both sides in this war, but who 
will wonder ? The senior generals of Japan grew up 
to man's estate when their country had not yet begun 
its modern process of development. It is a marvel 
that they have done so well, and have accommodated 
themselves so admirably to their new surroundings, and 
to all the machinery of modern warfare, to which, in 
their youth and early manhood, they were completely 
strangers. Kuropatkin, again, as we know, was a 
talented chief of staff to that genius SkobelefF; the 
one supplied what the other lacked, and the two com- 
pleted each other. So, too, did Napoleon and Berthier, 
but no one ever thought of making Berthier commander- 
in-chief, and it is a matter for consideration whether 
the very qualities which go to make an admirable chief 
of staff are not closely allied to the defects that render 



408 THE BATTLE OF THE SHAHO 

a man unfit to hold a great command. As to the faults 
committed at the Shaho battle, we can add little to the 
forecast we made before the battle was begun. The 
Russian army was neither good enough, relatively 
speaking, nor numetous enough, to have anticipated 
victory fix)m the operation on which it w^as launched, 
and it is thei*efore needless to seek other reasons for 
failure iti secondary and contributing causes. 



CHAPTER XXXV* 

THE NORTH SEA INCIDENT 

On a calm night, and without the slightest provocation 
and excuse, the Baltic Fleet has opened fire upon a fleet 
of trawlers engaged upon their customary business in 
well-known fishing grounds ; it has sunk British vessels, 
and killed and wounded British subjects. Worst of all, 
it has then fled from the scene of this exploit, and has 
taken refuge in precipitate evasion without caring or 
daring to inquire into the results of its lawlessness, 
leaving its victims to shift for themselves. This inci- 
dent is either the result of purpose or of panic, and it is 
difficult to say which reason covers the Baltic squadron 
with greater ignominy. 

It is for the Russian admiral in command to declare 
whether this act of war was done with intention or not ; 
the onus of proof that it was not done with intention 
rests with him. It may be hard to credit that anybody 
save a lunatic would be guilty of deliberately firing upon 
defenceless vessels in the open sea. But the Russian 
navy has a very bad record in this war, and we are per- 
fectly justified in believing the worst of a service which 
has already sunk two British vessels, captured several 
others without a shadow of excuse or a shade of legality, 
and has won no triumphs against the Japanese, save 
over ships totally deprived of means of resistance and 
reprisal. 

Even if we charitably assume the second alternative 

' From The Times of October 26 and November 15, liKM. 
409 



410 THE NORTH SEA INCIDENT 

and allow that the act was due to fear, this pitiful tragedy 
only places the Russian navy in a more contemptible 
light. It has been proved that the Hull trawlers were 
carrying all their lights, that they saw the Russian vessels 
approaching, that the latter turned their searchlights 
upon the fishing steamers, and that Russian torpedo 
craft ran up to inspect the British vessels, and then 
returned to their warships. Further, it is clear that 
the leading Russian vessels passed through the trawlers 
without firing, and that the firing was begun by the 
warships in rear. Whether the fusillade which was 
then opened lasted for ten minutes or half an hour, 
and whether thirty shots were fired or three hundred, 
is of no great moment; the fact remains that in- 
discriminate firing took place at close range, and 
that the squadron was so terror-struck by the sight 
of fishing boats that it took no steps whatever 
to rectify the mistake, or to save the victims of its 
fright, and incontinently fled. The fact of this flight 
engages the responsibility of the admiral in command, 
whether he was with the van of the column or not ; for, 
despite the futile excuses advanced by officials of the 
Russian Embassy, it is impossible to believe that the 
firing and the damage done by the firing can have escaped 
the Russian admiral's observation. Equally impertinent 
are the suggestions fi'om the same quarter that the 
trawlers brought their fate upon themselves by drawing 
too near to the Russian fleet. The North Sea does not 
belong to Russia, and her fleet proceeding over the high 
seas is just as much bound to observe the rules of the 
road at sea as our own or any other fleet is bound to do. 
The more this affair is considered the worse it appears, 
and there can be no question that it amply justifies ex- 
treme measures on our part. We hear already of strong 
despatches, and no doubt Lord Lansdowne will have 
taken energetic action. But the outrage was committed 
upon the British flag upon the high seas, and there is a 
strong feeling that it must be atoned for by satisfaction 
on the high seas by those responsible for its perpetration. 



RUSSIANS AT SEA 411 

We see just as little preparation and forethought on 
tlie part of the Admiralty to-day as we had to notice 
when the Pctcrburg and Smolensk were culpably allowed 
to disappear from sight and knowledge. It has been 
proved over and over again during the war that when- 
ever Russian vessels put to sea, their sailing is imme- 
diately followed by an outrage upon the British flag. 
The Admiralty appear to live in a world that has no real 
existence. They station the Home Fleet in Scottish 
waters at a moment when they knew, or should have 
known, that the Russian squadron was approaching 
our shores, and the Mediterranean squadron up in a 
dead angle of the Eastern Mediterranean. The cruiser 
squadron is laid up for repairs, and is not available for 
action. The gunboats that are presumed to protect 
fisheries disappeared. Fortunately, nowe ver, the Channel 
Squadron is at Gibraltar, and in a position there to demand 
explanation, apology, and redress, or to demonstrate that 
we have the power to impose respect tor our flag. 

On the most charitable hypothesis the Baltic squadron 
has proved itself to be irresponsible, and, as such, a public 
danger. If the nerves of its crews are in such a state of 
dreadful tension, it is not fit to be trusted alone upon 
the trade routes of the world. What happened yester- 
day to the trawlers may happen to-morrow, or any dark 
night during the next three months, to great liners or 
to tramps upon the frequented highways of the ocean 
which the squadron proposes to traverse ; and if its 
actions cannot be brought otherwise under control, it 
may become necessary to have it convoyed by British 
warships, in order to protect it from the nightmares that 
are conjured up by its disordered imagination. 

There can be no doubt that, in view of the inter- 
national lawlessness of the Russian navy, of which this 
is not the only instance, though it appeals more strongly 
to popular imagination in this country, our government 
might quite properly have decided before this to forbid 
acts of war outside a specified zone in the Far Kast 
in order to secure that safety and regularity for the 



412 THE NORTH SEA INCIDENT 

sea-borne trade of the world that neutrals have the right 
to expect. It is not too late to lay down that law to 
Russia even now. But this is at present secondary to 
the demand for ample and immediate apology and satis- 
faction from the authors of this disgraceful deed. The 
question is, Can we obtain any redress that will satisfy 
opinion save from the Russian navy itself ? 

The proceedings of the Peace Conference at The 
Hague in 1899 attracted such little interest in England, 
and the serious results achieved met with such scant 
recognition at the time, that it is no matter for surprise 
if the working of the machinery devised by the Third 
Commission of the Congress is very imperfectly under- 
stood by the general public. Nearly every one, how- 
ever, who took part in the Peace Conference recognised 
the fact that history would accord a more honourable 
place to the achievements of that international Parlia- 
ment than British public opinion bestowed upon it, and 
that the tree would at last oe known by its fruits. The 
machinery prepared has already been employed with 
good effect, but it hisus remained for the present hour to 
disclose a very important means devised for arresting, 
in its full course, impending war, and for intervening, 
almost at the eleventh hour, between the bared blades 
of two opposing nations. 

The composition, in certain special cases, of inter- 
national commissions of inquiry, formed part, and a very 
important part, of the labours of the Third Commission 
which dealt with the vital problem of arbitration and 
kindred matters. Over that Commission M. L^n 
Bourgeois presided Avith that dignity and spirit of fairness 
expected from the first delegate of France, while the 
valuable and luminous report upon all the subjects 
dealt with by this Commission was drafted by the 
Belgian Senator, the Chevalier Descamps, whose services 
to the cause of international peace are too well known 
to be recapitulated. If there be some fiery spirits who 
grow restless at the delay in effecting a settlement 
entailed by international inquiry, it may be pointed out 



DE MARTENS' PROPOSAL 413 

that delay was one of the principal objects aimed at in 
tliis humane conception of the conference. The idea 
was that in certain circumstances nations became 
justly or unjustly excited, and that it was at this very 
moment that delay was absolutely indispensable, so 
that all the facts might be duly set down in order by 
impartial men, public opinion quieted by a judicial pre- 
sentment of the whole truth, and spirits allowed to cool 
by exposure to the air for a certain lapse of time. M. de 
Martens, who had charge of the Russian case, and, it 
may be added, conducted it throughout with signal 
moderation and good sense, desired that international 
inquiry should be made obligatory when neither the 
honour nor the vital interests of states were in question. 
His desire was that nations should be secured from the 
impressions of the moment, and that feelings, based 
possibly on ignorance of the true facts, should not be 
allowed to imperil or envenom international relations. 
He considered, and many agreed with him, that these 
results could only be achieved if the obligatory character 
of international inquiry were universally recognised. 

It would occupy too much space to enter at length 
into the reasons why the obligatory clause of this pro- 
posal was rejected, nor would it, perhaps, tend to inter- 
national harmony to name the nations and the particular 
delegates who opposed RI. de Martens' proposal. It is 
enough to say that a compromise was reached by the 
deletion of the obligatoiy clause, and that Ailicle 9, 
Chapter III., was finally drafted and approved as 
follows : -- 

"In differences of an international nature involving 
neither honour nor vital interests, and arising from a 
difference of opinion on points of fact, the signatory 
Powers recommend that the parties, who have not been 
able to come to an agreement by means of diplomacy, 
should, as far as circumstances allow, institute an Inter- 
natioiuil Commission of Inquiry, to facilitate a solution 
of these differences by elucidating the facts by means of 
an impartial and conscientious investigation." 



414 THE NORTH SEA INCIDENT 

It was also considered advisable to make certain rules 
for the composition and procedure of such Commissions 
of Inquiry, in order that their action should be both 
effective and beneficent. Hence arose Article 10, which 
laid down that they should be constituted by special 
agreement between the parties in conflict, and that the 
convention for an inquiry should define the facts to 
be examined and the extent of the powers to be 
delegated to the commissioners nominated. To the 
convention was also left the power of regulating the pro- 
cedure to be adopted, while, as regards forms and tune 
limits, liberty was allowed, so that such matters might 
either be left to the convention to settle or be regulated 
by the commissioners themselves when they met. 

The Russian delegates at the Conference had their 
own views as to the system under which the com- 
missioners should be appointed, but these failed to give 
satisfaction, and a preference was shown for the pro- 
cedure recommended in the convention dealing with 
tribunals of arbitration. This procedure is described in 
Article 82, Chapter 1 1 1. , of that convention. This article 
states that the duties of arbitrator may be conferred upon 
one or more persons designated by the parties at their 
pleasure or chosen from among the members of the 
permanent Court of Arbitration. In the event of dis- 
agreement, each party chooses two arbitrators, and these 
four select an umpire. In the case of failure to agree 
upon this point, a third Power, chosen by common 
accord, is asked to select the umpire. Finally, should 
agreement still be wanting, each party selects a different 
Power and these two Powers select the umpire in 
concert. In the present case it would be, of course, 
improper to use the terms arbitrator or umpire at all, 
since the commissioners at the inquiry have no arbitral 
functions whatsoever. It is merely the procedure of 
Article 82 that is adopted, in principle, for the selection 
of commissioners and president. 

The next point that naturally arose was the character 
of the information and the evidence to be submitted to 



COMMISSION OF INQUIRY 415 

the Commission of Inquiry. It was felt that Powers 
would have a natural reluctance to submit details which 
concerned national defences, plans of campaign, secret 
orders, and so forth, and consequently Article 12 was 
drafted broadly so as to take into due account the vital 
interests of the Powers concerned. It laid down that 
the parties engaged to supply, " as fully as they may 
think possible," all the means and facilities necessary ** to 
enable it [the commission] to be completely acquainted 
with and to accurately understand the facts in question." 

The concluding Articles 13 and 14 deal with the 
report of the Commission. It is laid down that the 
latter shall present their report, signed by all the mem- 
bers, to the two parties ; that the report shall be limited 
to " a statement of facts," and finally that the conflicting 
Powers are left " entire freedom as to the effect to be 
given to this statement." 

It is very desirable that the public should thoroughly 
understand the nature of the conventions signed at The 
Hague and subsequently ratified, since failure to 
appreciate their beanngs and their scope may easily lead 
to unjust aspersions upon the conduct of the inquiry by 
one government or the other. 

It is abundantly evident that in the present instance 
the world has made a step in advance of the ideas of the 
House in the Wood. The generous intentions of the 
delegates at The Hague were constantly thwarted by 
references to the " honour and \'ital interests " of States, 
and it will be observed that the constitution of the pro- 
posed Commission of Inquiry was not even recommended 
m the event of the honour or vital interests of Powers 
being engaged. 

They are, in the present case, very much engaged. 
Tlie Prime Minister himself, in his speech at Soutnamp- 
ton, stated in the plainest terms that our honour was 
engaged, since, in dealing with the Russian admiral's 
report, he entered a most emphatic protest against 
**an allegation which affects, I think, our honour as 
neutrals." 



416 THE NORTH SEA INCIDENT 

If, again, the security of all British subjects who go 
down to the sea in ships, and the safety of these ships 
themselves, are not a vital interest to Great Britain, then 
truly it is hard to name one. We have, therefore, gone 
a long step further than the delegates at The Hague 
ever imagined possible. But it is also true that the 
honour and vital interests of Russia are equally involved, 
and it is therefore right to conclude that if there has 
been a concession at all, it bears a mutual character. 

We may some of us hold very strongly that this 
matter should never have been submitted to international 
inquiry at all, and that it does not con^e within the four 
comers of the competence of Article 9 of The Hague 
Convention on Arbitration. That is a perfectly Intimate 
point of view, but, as it is not that of the two govern- 
ments, it is only right that the principle of inquiry should 
be now accepted loyally with all its consequences. 

It will be observed that the onus of bringing forward 
all needful evidence rests with each government con- 
cerned, and that pressure or suggestion to secure the 
attendance of witnesses or the production of material 
evidence is not justified in so far as the evidence to be 
tendered by the other side is concerned. The fiill and 
entire responsibility for presenting the Russian case rests 
with Russia, and not only this, but also the initiative of 
action taken subsequent to the report of the com- 
missioners. There is nothing but the ban of public 
excommunication by the world's opinion to apply to 
a country which either does not supply the requisite 
evidence or fails to act upon it after the report of the 
commissioners is presented. Nothing, at least, save 
compulsion vi et armis, since the uUiyna ratio still remains 
at our disposal if satisfaction, subsequent to the report 
of the commissioners, be not obtained. 



CHAPTER XXXVP 

THE SITUATION AT THE END OF 
NOVEMBER 

Admiral Alexeieff retires from the scene of his 
many failures, leaving Kuropatkin with a broken and 
dispirited army to get out of the mess as best he can. 
A great sigh of relief goes up from the entire army of 
Russia ; and Kuropatkin, perhaps for the first time in 
the course of the war, finds himself with a free hand, or 
at least as free as Japanese manacles admit What will 
he do? 

In view of his well-known desire to retreat until he 
has sufficient men to authorise a serious offensive move- 
ment ; in view of the proof recently given that he has 
not these numbers, and cannot hope to have them for 
some months ; in view, lastly, of the stream of rein- 
forcements promised to him, his natural course of action, 
provided it were practicable, would be to retire upon 
these reinforcements, and await a more favourable 
moment for action. He knows perfectly well that Port 
Arthur is in extremis^ and that upon the fall of that 
fortress his enemy's numbers will be augmented. The 
spirits of his army, despite Putiloff*'s coup upon Yamada 
at the close of the Shaho battle, are certainly very low ; 
he has every reason to break off* contact if he can, and 
spend the winter in reorganising and restoring the 
efficiency of his beaten army. For, just as the war is 
intensely unpopular in Russia, so, among his own officers 

* Compiled from articles in The Timet of November 2, 26 and 29^ 1904. 

417 27 



418 SITUATION AT END OF NOVEMBER 

and men, the same feeling is predominant. Every 
single witness, friendly to Russia or the reverse, tells 
the same tale. " The whole army detests Manchuria, 
where it thinks that it has gone astray." So says 
M. Naudeau, and all his colleagues confirm his words. 

Although the chances of war, with armies in such 
close proximity, are not matters upon which we can 
speculate with safety, the friends of Japan need not 
disturb themselves on account of Oyama's inactivity. 
The recent battles have neither exhausted the Japanese 
army nor decreased its confidence. An army that has 
met its enemy's whole strength in fair fight, has taken 
from it 45 guns, buried 18,000 of its soldiers, and pur- 
sued it for 15 miles, has no cause for any feeling but 
satisfaction. 

But the railway was only completed to Liauyang 
early in the month, and time has scarcely allowed the 
amassing of the vast stores of food ana ammunition 
required for the continuous activity of a great army. 
The expenditure of ammunition in the last battle 
exceeded everything that either army anticipated. We 
are told that the Russian army alone fired 180,000 
shells and 5,000,000 rounds of small-arm ammunition. 
In any case, the expenditure has been unheard of, and 
time is required to prepare for a fresh contest of 
equal, or perhaps greater, fury. Until the Japanese are 
thoroughly prepared for their next move, they are not 
likely to break camp. 

Moreover, the days of Port Arthur are numbered. 
For the attack which began on October 26 the Japanese 
have made preparations on a much more extensive scale 
than before ; they have brought up a large number of 
heavy guns, and, if progress is slow, it is apparently 
continuous, while the defensive powers of the garrison 
are lessening day by day. It would be, no doubt, a 
cause for legitimate satisfaction if the fortress could be 
taken on the birthday of the Emperor of Japan, which 
occurs to-morrow ; but the arrangements of the be- 
siegers will not be tied down to any special date, and all 



PORT ARTHUR DOOMED 419 

we can feel reasonably sure of is that Port Arthur will 
fall in the course of the next few weeks. It is neither 
Stossel nor his gallant garrison that the Japanese are 
after, but those coveted ships that lie within sight of 
Japanese eyes, but not yet within reach of their hands. 

We have heard little of the Russian warships since 
the action in which Admiral Vithoft fell. But it is 
almost certain that the Port Arthur dock, arsenal, and 
workshops are in ruins, that no repairs have been 
possible for weeks past, and that much damage has 
been done to the remaining ships by the fire of the 
enemy. In view of the anticipated early decision at 
Port Arthur, there is no special reason why Oyama 
should push on till this chapter is closed, and he is 
justified in believing that, should Kuropatkin have any 
further inclination to avert the impending doom of the 
great fortress, he must once more lead his men to the 
attack, and once more risk the safety of his army in 
circumstances of grave disadvantage. 

The Vice-King, or Narmestnik of the Tsar, is well 
advised to retire from the scene before the curtain falls 
over the last act of the bloody drama at Port Arthur. 
He now accepts defeat with all its consequences, and 
hastens to leave Manchuria before the Rising Sun waves 
once more over Port Arthur, symbolising the ruin of 
all his ambitions and his schemes. If we ask ourselves 
why he has been allowed for so long to mismanage the 
affairs of Russia in the Far East, we must seek the 
reason in the patriarchal system of the Russian Empire, 
which has indeed many faults, but does not include 
among them disloyalty to its servants. In all parts of 
the Russian public service, diplomacy included, old 
servants are retained till they totter into their graves, 
whether they are efficient and whether they are not. 
Seldom indeed is a Russian viceroy, ambassador, 
general, or admiral discredited and disavowed. As a 
system of government it may have its faults ; but at 
least it causes Russia to be well and loyally, if not 
always intelligently, served. 



420 SITUATION AT END OF NOVEMBER 

Those who laud Kuropatkin to the skies will now 
be able to show proof that he is worthy of the flatteries 
lavished upon him. We should rather say that more 
evidence to character is required before we mow 
enthusiastic over a general who has weakly permitted 
his armies, time after time, to undertake operations he 
knew to be rash and ill-advised, and instead of stem- 
ming the current has allowed himself to be carried 
away with it. 

Admiral Alexeieff arrived at St. Petersburg on 
November 10, aft«r a rapid journey from Kharbin. He 
was received without ceremony, and drove away without 
escort A few days later he was appointed a member 
of the Council of the Empire, and, as nis staff in Man- 
churia has been broken up and distributed among the 
new armies, we must consider the admiral shelved and 
his vice-regal career at an end. He has not, it is true, 
as yet been relieved of his frmctions as Imperial 
Lieutenant in the Far East, but he has been deprived, 
at his own urgent request, of the command-in-cnief of 
the troops, and de facto he has ceased to rule. 

General Kuropatkin became, on October 27, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the military and naval forces at the 
seat of war ; the long conflict is over, and the general 
has won. The Imperial rescript addressed to him de- 
clared that " your military experience, strengthened by 
your action in Manchuria, makes me feel confident that 
you will break the obstinacy of the enemy's forces at the 
head of your glorious army, and will thereby assure 
peace in the Far East to Russia.** 

Shortly aft^r his return to the Russian capital the 
admiral was interviewed by two French correspondents. 
They did not mince matters with the fallen satrap. 
Said M. Gaston Dru to him, "People declare you 
pushed Kuropatkin forward, that you are responsible 
for the check at Wafangkau, and that you imposed the 
offensive upon the army before the Shaho." The admiral 
is made to reply in the following terms : 

"Jamais je n'ai impost mes vues au g^n^ralissme. 



THE FAMOUS ORDER 421 

avec lequel je vecus toujours en excellents termes. II 
fit ce qu'il voulut. Des le d^but des hostilit^s, ie 
consid^rai que mon role etait de 1 aider dans toute la 
mesure de mes forces. Je ne lui ai demande nullement 
de marcher en avant lors de TafFaire de Wafangkau. Et 
j appris la publication de Tordre du jour qui prec^a 
lofFensive sur le Shaho en arrivant k Mukden, sans doute 
apr^s que vous le connaissiez d^ja ici." 

It is necessary to register this document for what it 
is worth a titre dthistoire, but at the same time to allow 
it to remain under the category of the story that is good 
until another is told. If we could take this assurance 
at its face value and to the foot of the letter, we should 
have to conclude that the admiral has had some injustice 
done to him, and that Kuropatkin is solely responsible 
for the Russian mistakes and defeats. But there are 
many ways in which a viceroy can interfere in military 
operations and organisation, can offer suggestions not 
readily distinguishable from orders, and can yet stand 
clear of the reproach of imposing his views upon the 
general in command. The evidence that Alexeieff 
interfered with Kuropatkins freedom of action and 
hampered his plans comes to us from too many sources 
to be lightly put aside. Nor, it will be observed, does 
the admiral explicitly disclaim the authorship of the 
famous proclamation to the army before the Shaho. 
All he says is that he only learnt of its publication after 
his arrival at Mukden. It is important to clear up the 
point, since, if we can assume that Kuropatkin wrote or 
dictated the famous order to which his name is appended, 
we should have to assume that the general will take 
the very first opportunity of making good his words, 
especially as the inflexible will of the Tsar was given 
such a prominent place in the document, and the terms 
paraded before the world with such a great flourish of 
trumpets. 

VVe Iiave, moreover, to consider that the relations 
between Alexeieff and Kuropatkin have been something 
of a test case of the attitude assumed towards each other 



422 SITUATION AT END OF NOVEMBER 

by a strong Viceroy and a strong Commander-in-Chief 
in a great dependency in time of war. It is conceivable, 
for example, that such a situation might one day arise 
in India, and that the scathing criticisms of the Pflugs 
and Gilinskys of AlexeieflTs superfluous staff might find 
their counterpart in the unseasonable obstruction of the 
military member of the Viceroy's Council. What we 
have to ensure is that, in case of war, the Commander-in- 
Chief is free to devote himself to the prosecution of the 
war and nothing else ; that the responsibilities and the 
duties of the ci\al and military elements of the Adminis- 
tration are accurately determined in the event of war, 
and that all possible causes of friction are eliminated in 
advance. It is true that, in their last terms, systems 
and their success or failure depend more upon the char- 
acter and individuality of the men who control them 
than upon the inherent merits or defects of the S3rstems 
themselves * ; but that does not detract fix)m our duty 
of foreseeing, as far as we are able, points of antagonism 
and of conflict, and of removing them before war is 
upon us. 

Meanwhile, Kuropatkin, with a free hand and a 
promise of support limited only by the restrictions of 
troop-transport, is in process of reorganising his army. 
He nas found nothing better than to conform to the 
procedure of his enemy, and to divide his army into 
three, each of four army corps and two brigades of 
rifles. Each army, when complete, will number 150,000 
men, and by the spring the Russians anticipate that 
they will be able to take the field with sometning Uke 
half a miUion of men and a formidable train of artdlery. 
General Linievitch has been very properly given com- 
mand of the First Army, consisting of the old Siberian 
and East Siberian troops, while General Kharkevitch, 
formerly Quartermaster-General of the Army of Man- 
churia, becomes Chief of the Staff* of this army. 

' Compare Lord Curzon's speech in Council at Simla, July 18, 1905 : " I 
expect that the new system, like the old, will depend in the main upon the 
personal equation for its success or fietilure." 



RUSSIAN ARMY CORPS 423 

Linievitch is already at Mukden, and the organisation 
of this army should be far advanced ; but the troops 
composing it have fought more and suffered more than 
any other part of the army, and require heavy reinforce- 
ments before they resume operations. 

The Second Army, under General Gripenberg, will 
not be ready for many weeks ; but the exact date of its 
concentration cannot yet be fixed, owing to the uncer- 
tainty which prevails respecting the capabilities of the 
railway for troop-transport during the winter, especially 
on the new circum- Baikal section, and also owing to the 
doubt whether the new army corps, or the rifles, or, 
lastly, the drafts to make good losses, will have pre- 
cedence upon the line. 

The Third Army is under General Baron Kaulbars, 
with General Martson as Chief of the Staff; but at 
present Kaulbars has not left Western Russia. The 
troops of this army, like those of the First, have suffered 
heavily, and will require very large reinforcements 
before they are up to strength. Many changes have 
taken place in the higher commands. Both the divi- 
sional commanders of the 1st Army Corps have been 
relieved of their commands ; so has the commander of 
the 10th Corps, while both the 10th and 17th Army 
Corps lost the best part of one of their artillery brigades 
at the Shaho. It will, indeed, be an affair of many 
months before the Russian army is able to resume 
operations with anything approaching the strength 
which would normally be represented by the units 
intended to form part of it. If we put down the present 
effectives of the field armies under Kuropatkin at 
250,000 men, we are probably not far from the truth ; 
and we cannot anticipate that the 450,000 or 500,000 
men required will be assembled before the break-up of 
the winter, even if all circumstances are favourable. 

There has not been any question as yet of consider- 
able reinforcements of cavalry. The 4th Don Cossack 
Division has arrived and has been engaged, but the 
difficulty of transporting horses in the winter and the 



424 SITUATION AT END OF NOVEMBER 

want of forage have made it impracticable to send out 
large bodies of mounted men, or even to keep efficient 
and complete those already in the field. 

On the other hand, the Russian artillery has 
been considerably reinforced. By direction of various 
prikazeSj notably those of June 15 and September 7, 
the total number of mountain batteries has been in- 
creased from the original two to twelve in all, each of 
eight guns, while twelve ammunition columns have been 
organised to accompany them. In addition to these 
mountain batteries there were formed, under prikaze 
of August 16, the 4th and 5th Regiments of Howitzers, 
each of four six-gun batteries, with corresponding 
ammunition columns, besides a regiment of siege 
artillery of ten companies. When the war began 
there were only two howitzer batteries with the army, 
but with the additions noticed, all of which have 
probably arrived, Kuropatkin should have sixty howitzers 
on the ground, apparently of the 6-in. Engelhardt type, 
not so good as some patterns in other armies, but still a 
useful weapon, and promising to afford valuable support 
to the troops in the field. 

So far as the Russian army is concerned — ^that is to 
say, in view of its heavy losses and of the reinforcements 
which may reach it throughout the winter — we can 
quite understand that there are many inducements to 
play the waiting game. The army has wrecked itself 
in the vain endeavour to relieve Port Arthur, and 
though the fatal magnet is still there to distract the 
mind and disturb the resolutions of the Russian com- 
mander, it may be that the Tsar has at last arrived 
at the conclusion that the price his army has had to 
pay for the effort has been too high. Colonel Gadke 
teUs us that the relief of Port Arthur has been aban- 
doned, and he may be right, even though his prophecies 
are usually wrong. 

The Russians, veering round from their opinions 
before the Shaho, now declare that Oyama's army is 
superior in numbers. They and their friends and allies 



A LESS SANGUINE VIEW 425 

allege, however, that Japan has almost touched bottom, 
and, after describing the various categories of the 
Japanese army antecedent to the war, conclude with 
delight that Japan is almost exhausted, and that when 
the Russian glacier, with its moraine of 500,000 sabres 
and bayonets, begins to move in the spring, it will carry 
all before it All they can see to reinforce the Japanese 
army is a levy of peasants with inferior arms and badly 
led. The final success of Russia follows as a matter of 
course, and it only remains to dictate terms of peace. 

There is one Russian, however, who is not quite so 
sanguine. M. Nemirovitch Danchenko, of the Itusskoe 
Slovo^ tears himself for once from the pleasing pursuit 
of phrase painting and condescends to tell us wnat his 
conclusions are with regard to the situation. He says 
that the Japanese reinforcements which have recently 
arrived are as well-trained, disciplined, and brave as the 
veteran troops, and that Russia, with the forces she 
possesses, is reduced to the defensive. He declares that 
it is puerile to think that the impetus of Japan is 
arrested because she is an Asiatic Power. We have 
before us, he declares, a military Power of the first 
rank, persevering, active, and energetic, a Power which 
has prepared for this war for seven years, and has 
studied in eveiy detail the theatre of war and the 
forces of its enemy. What is only a colonial war 
for Russia is, he asserts, a national war for Japan ; 
everything is weighed, and even battles are treated 
like mathematical problems. 

Can anything, in fact, be more misleading than to 
base calculations of future numbers upon Japans 
military strength before the war ? The Boers fell into 
that error, and it cost them their independence. Japan 
has a practically inexhaustible reservoir of men, and 
long ago she prepared a scheme under which new 
levies of infantry can be completely trained within 
three months. 

Six months ago, in reviewing the work of the 
German mission to Japan, we had to point out 



426 SITUATION AT END OF NOVEMBER 

that the main distinction between the old order of 
military policy and the new lay in the creation by 
the latter in time of war of reserve field armies, and 
we had to observe that, should the war prove long 
and exhausting, victory would only remain with Japan 
if she proved capable of placing fresh levies of trained 
soldiers in the neld and of maintaining the effectives 
of those units already under arms. All the talent that 
surrounds the Emperor of Japan, with Yamagata for 
its directing spirit, has had, we may almost say, nothing 
else to do but to prepare in advance for contingencies 
that could be foreseen long before the need arose. We 
know little of what has been done, but we know at 
least that an ample number of men have become 
available by a change in the terms of liability to service 
recently reported by the Tokio correspondent of The 
Times, whue it is a matter of notoriety that, despite 
many months of war, Japanese units always go into 
battle up to their ftiU strength. 

Only numbers can annihilate, and we can regard it 
as assured that, ever since Prince Khilkoff gave proof 
of his competence, and Liauyang was fought, Japanese 
organisers at home have been steadily working up to 
the point which is fixed for them by the circumstances 
of the case with almost mathematical precision. It is 
true that the want of trained officers has been, and still 
may be, felt, but let us look on the other side and 
regard the thousands of reserve officers Russia is 
digging up to make good the very extraordinary waste 
in the commissioned ranks at the front Japan could 
have organised her corps of officers, had she desired to do 
so, as a caste apart a la Prtcsse, at once the strength, the 
glory, and the weakness of the German army. There 
were many who advised her to do so, but she \^dsely 
refrained, and left open the door to merit wherever 
found. Her non-commissioned ranks are recruited fix)m 
the intellectual dUte of the nation, and as officers fall 
they can be, and they are, replaced fix)m the good and 
tried non-commissioned ranks — men who are probably 



THE BALTIC SQUADRON 427 

superior in very many ways to the average regimental 
officer of the Russian army, and have been proved by 
hard service in the field. 

The problem before the organising staff at Tokio is 
to place m the field, month by month, such considerable 
forces that by the time the Russian concentration is 
completed the Japanese army may be of equivalent 
or greater strength. There is no reason why Japan 
should fail in this undertaking, since she has fortunately 
elected to fight out the war within easy reach of the 
sea, as we thought it would be in her interest to do 
before the war began. Nothing that we are able to 
observe, save the loss of the command of the sea, need 
prevent her from retaining the advantages she has won. 

Admiral Rozhdestvensky — unscathed, unchallenged, 
unpunished — continues his progress towards the East 
with truly Russian deliberation. He left Libau on 
October 16 at 1 a.m. A month later he steamed away 
from the French coaling station of Dakar, in West 
Africa, with five battleships (the Kniaz Suvaroff^ 
Alexander IIL, Borodino^ Orel, and Oslyabya), three 
cruisers (the Admiral Nakldnioff, Dvdtri Donskoi^ and 
Aurora), five transports, a hospital ship, and a store- 
ship. The remainder of the squadron, joined by several 
Volunteer Fleet steamers from the Black Sea, all under 
the commercial flag, was at Suda Bay, in Crete, on 
November 10. This division, consisting of two battle- 
ships, three cruisers, six destroyers, and nine transports, 
under Rear- Admiral Folkersahm, left for Port Said at 
3 p.m. on November 21. The Suez Canal authorities 
took the Russian squadron under their wing, and used 
their utmost endeavours to facilitate the supply and 
progress of the ships. Dogberry, it would appear, has 
moved house to Cairo. On Noveml)er 16 a belated 
division from the Baltic, consisting of the cruisers Oleg^ 
Iztivirud, the Volunteer Fleet auxiliary cruisers Rion 
(eX'Pete7^hurg), Dnieper (eX'Smolensk), and Terek, with 
eight torpedo boats, left Libau. 



428 SITUATION AT END OF NOVEMBER 

Thus, a month after setting out, the fifteen ships form- 
ing the main division of the squadron had covered one- 
fifth of their journey at the average rate of three miles 
an hour ; the second division of twenty vessels had not 
done quite so well ; while the third of thirteen ships had 
barely started from home. Considering the plight of 
Port Arthur, a conscientious historian will not describe 
this effort as indecent haste. If this rate of speed is 
maintained, and all three divisions are united before 
action, it will be the middle of April next year before the 
admiral, unscathed or otherwise, appears in Japanese 
waters. It is possible that progress may be more rapid 
hereafter, therefore we cannot draw any definite con- 
clusions at present ; but, so far as things have gone, the 
action of the Russian navy appears to bear a more inti- 
mate relation to the execution of a general offensive 
movement in the spring than to any hope or intention 
of dominating the strategic situation in the theatre of 
war at the present moment. 

The Lord High Admiral of the Russian Naval Forces 
in the Far East is, by rescript. General Kuropatkin. 
Skrydloff, the senior naval officer on the station — ^that is 
to say, on land — is under Kuropatkin 's orders, and has 
to journey to Mukden to receive them. It seems likely 
that we shall soon learn some valuable lessons in naval 
strategy. The Japanese Ministers held a Council before 
the Emperor on November 14, and it is to be presumed 
that the general course of national effort by sea and land 
was once more passed in review, and decisions taken 
respecting future action. 

The question of the supply of Welsh coal to the 
Baltic squadron has caused the Japanese some disquiet ; 
but it is not quite such an easy affair to arrange in con- 
formity with the interests of our ally as Baron Suyematsu 
appears to think. We cannot arrest the whole activity 
of a great national industry, and, short of that, nothing 
can prevent the use of our coal by the intermediaries 
between Russia and Cardiff. The Committee of Im- 
perial Defence have taken a great step in advance by 



COAL 429 

the denial of British ports and territorial waters to the 
use of belligerent ships and their colliers, and by this 
wise act have already justified their existence. The 
President of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce has 
recently stated, at the mayoral banquet on November 22, 
that in order to provide large extra supplies for our own 
navy at short notice, the best way, in his opinion, is to 
keep the collieries working at full pressure, so that by 
a sudden stoppage of exports we could ensure a large 
quantity for ourselves at short notice. It is evident 
that, if we stop exports now, some collieries will be shut 
down, and the supply we may require will not be forth- 
coming at need. From this Baron Suyematsu will see 
that we should, by acting as he appears to suggest, risk 
the ruin of one of our chief industries, imperil the supply 
of the navy, and yet serve Japan in no material manner, 
since the coal would readily be obtained elsewhere, not 
perhaps so good, but good enough for the tortoise fleet 
from the Baltic. 



CHAPTER XXXVII ^ 

DE PROFVNDIS 

Although the destruction of the Pacific squadron 
at Port Arthur during the second week of December 
was due to causes which had their origin far back in 
the history of the war, the drainatic incident of the 
ultimate ruin of these ships by the artillery of the 
besieging army yields to none other in importance 
and interest for a maritime Power. Out of the depths 
where these sea-monsters lie wrecked and forlorn there 
arises a solemn warning for nations and navies that are 
blind to the teachings of history and presume to im- 
prove upon the principles and the practice of the great 
masters of the art of war. 

If the cost in human life of the Japanese attacks 
upon Port Arthur has been great, we must also admit 
that the main object of these sacrifices has been at last 
attained. Thanks to her army Japan has reaped the 
harvest sown by her earlier naval successes. It has 
been solely thanks to the intimate co-operation of army 
and navy that this result has been achieved, and that 
the numerous and powerful Russian Pacific squadron is 
now numbered with fieets that have lived. This great 
result, achieved without the loss of a single warship by 
Japan in battle, has been secured by the sacrifice of 
lives rather than of ships, nor can we say that any cost 
can be too great to secure that immeasurable advantage 
to an insular Power — the command of the sea. 

^ Compiled from an article in The Timet of December 17, 1^. 

430 



PORT ARTHUR 481 

For us, the main objective of the Japanese at Port 
Arthur has been always the ships. Now that these 
vessels are done with there is no need for further costly 
assaults at Port Arthur. The siege can pursue its 
ordinary course, and it becomes a matter of compara- 
tive unimportance whether the fortress fall sooner or 
later. There is only one harbour east of Suez which 
the Baltic Fleet is certain never to visit, and that 
harbour is Port Arthur. 

When war broke out we can all recall AlexeieflTs 
proud boast : — " The fortress of Port Arthur has been 
placed in a state of defence and is ready to serve Russia 
as an inaccessible stronghold." Upon that announce- 
ment we had to comment parenthetically that history 
knew many strongholds, but none that were inacces- 
sible. What man can build man also can destroy. 
Nevertheless, the Viceroy had given the cue, and all 
Russia was convinced that the millions poured out 
upon the fortress would render it inaccessible to the 
enemy, impregnable by his arms, and a safe haven 
for the Russian fleet. We remarked upon these visions 
and promised to return to the subject at a later date. 

Both before and during the siege we ventured to 
doubt whether the retention of Port Arthur was a 
Russian interest. No one, certainly, who appreciates 
the constant changes which take place in the applied 
sciences of the art of war, even during the course of a 
great campaign, will have any desire to hold to musty 
phrases for the mere sake of consistency, when proof 
has been afforded that fresh facts have come to light 
and that fresh evidence is available. If the principles 
of strategy are eternal and immutable, their application 
is altogether the reverse. The deep ruts of a Pompeian 
highway and the shimmering rails of a Trans-Siberian, 
for example, cause the conduct of military operations 
to undergo, from era to era, the profoundest change. 
The ordering of sieges and the shock of armies are 
equally modified in every conceivable manner by the 
constant progress in armament ; wliile telegraphs, tele- 



482 DE PROFUNDIS 

phones, wireless communications, steam, and balloons 
all exercise, in ever-increasing degree, an immense 
influence upon the scientific application of the art of 
war. All theories are useless unless they are in 
harmony with experience. We have to be ever on 
the alert to recognise changes, to adopt the good and 
reject the bad, embodying the former in our national 
system so that we may remain second to none. 

But there appears to be no reason for altering in any 
way the opinions we have expressed concerning Port 
Arthur both before and during the siege. The whole 
course of the operations only confirms us more abso- 
lutely in our earlier beliefs. When the First Army 
of Japan landed in Korea and pressed forward to the 
Yalu it stood alone, and for many weeks was exposed 
to a counter-stroke on the part of Kurojpatkin had he 
been in a condition to deliver one. This First Armv 
was not strong, since the local conditions of the march 
through north-western Korea placed certain definite 
limits upon the numbers that could be employed; it 
was wealcer, perhaps, than was generally acknowledged 
at the time, smce there was good reason to exaggerate 
its numbers, and the assembly of the Grand Army 
which four months later drove the Russians fix)m Liau- 
yang was a work of time. 

Kuropatkin could not assail Kuroki because he had 
locked up 80,000 men in Port Arthur and many more 
at Vladivostok, leaving his field army too weak to 
crush the head of the invasion when it appeared. Grand 
invasions from over-sea are a very serious matter indeed. 
The assembly, transport, landing, and shaking together 
of the vast mass of men, guns, carriages, transport, 
horses, stores, supplies, ammunition, hospitals, etc., are 
perhaps the most difficult operation in the whole gamut 
of the art of war when resistance is anticipated. The 
greatest advantage possessed by defenders in the event 
of attack from over-sea is that of rapid concentration 
and immediate attack, before the invader has time to 
turn round or to be reinforced. Those 80,000 men of 



PORT ARTHUR 488 

Stossel's would have altered the complexion of affairs 
upon the Yalu, and still more woula they have done 
so if the rest of the field army had been joined with 
them for an impetuous attack upon the First Army of 
Japan. An early success would have been big with 
consequences, and the entire plan of the Japanese would 
have been thrown out of gear by a Russian victory 
at the outset 

There was no such victory because dispersion was 
preferred to concentration, because 80,000 men were 
uselessly immured in one fortress and 15,000, subse- 
quently increased to 80,000, in another, waiting with 
ordered arms until tlie Japanese brought up a Second 
or a Third Army and found it convenient to attack 
them. Until this moment came, Stossel at Port Arthur 
and Linievitch at Vladivostok were out of court ; they 
might as well, or better, have been at Jericho, since 
they could not move, chained as they were by the leg, 
while the fortresses and garrisons were only an additional 
tax upon the cumbered railway. Neither Port Arthur 
nor Vladivostok stood athwart the main or compulsory 
lines of invasion of the enemy ; their strategic influence 
upon the progress of the campaign was entirely depen- 
dent upon the attention whicn the .lapanese cared to 
devote to the sieges, and the directing staff was not 
prepared to allow these sieges to interrupt or seriously 
delay the main operation of the campaign — namely, the 
crushing defeat of the Russian field army, which was 
always and necessarily the prelude to peace. Port 
Arthur and its garrison thus became a detachment, cut 
off deliberately and by order from their friends, and 
condemned inexorably to strategic death or capture, 
provided the Russian field army failed to gain important 
victories. The fate of Port Arthur was always de- 
pendent upon the defeats or victories of the Russian 
army in the main theatre. These victories in their turn 
were all the more improbable, especially at first, by 
reason of the reduction of strength entailed by the 
guard of Port Arthur. 

28 



484 DE PROFUNDIS 

To what strategic or other purpose, then, did Port 
Arthur respond? To the protection of the Pacific 
squadron in the first place, and to the purely vain- 
glorious afiu*mation of tne infiexible purpose of Russia's 
historic mission in the next As to this last purpose, it 
was nothing more than sheer obstinacy and a refusal to 
see the facts as they were. This question we discussed 
a month before Oku's army landea, and the conclusion 
was arrived at that the evacuation of Port Arthur was 
the lesser of two evils. We can only repeat now what 
was said then — namely, that, qtcd moral results, the 
disaster was far greater to see all these men, ships, 
stores, and guns become the prize of the enemy than to 
see them removed or destroyed as part of a deliberate 
scheme of national strategy. The wound Russia feels 
to-day has been self-inflicted. 

There remains, then, the protection of the pseudo- 
sea-goin^ squadron of the Pacific. Port Arthur ruined 
the Pacific squadron and was the immediate cause of 
its ignominious overthrow. Lulled into a felse sense 
of security by the frowning batteries along Golden 
Hill, the squadron anchored in the outer roadstead, 
under the shadow of its forts, never dreaming of attack, 
despite the knowledge AlexeiefF certainly possessed that 
the Japanese Minister had broken off negotiations and 
left Russia. Even after the first surprise the malign 
attraction of Port Arthur's syren voice continued, day 
by day, week by week, and month by month, to seduce 
the Russian navy into the snare of its delusive shelter 
and to hold it fast locked in an insidious embrace, 
deadening and finally destroying all its vital powers. 
Never, surely, since Bazaine darned to his ruin round 
Metz, has the fatal vice of the fortress or harbour of 
reftige been shown up in more glaring light 

The duty of the Russian fieet lay plain before it. 
Its duty was to steam out and attack the enemy, 
choosing its own time, but attacking quand mhne^ with 
absolute disregard of the consequences to itself, and 
with the sole purpose of effecting the utmost possible 



THE PACIFIC SQUADRON 435 

damage to the Japanese battleships which stood between 
Russia and the Empire of the Far East. In that duty 
the Russian navy failed, and failed miserably. We 
cannot say that it was unable to attack. It was un- 
willing, nothing more, since the subsequent and half- 
hearted sorties, succeeded by speedy flight back to the 
haven of rest, showed that the will and not the power 
to fight was absent. The inglorious end of a great sea- 
going squadron, manned by 15,000 of the best seamen 
of Russia, and representing in material alone a capital 
of thirty-two millions sterling, was due to the irresolu- 
tion of the command, and this in its turn was caused by 
the fatal attraction of the harbour of refuge upon weak 
minds and undecided characters. 

The Pacific squadron has been sunk, destroyed, and 
ruined without the loss of a single warship by Japan 
in battle during ten months of war. The Russian navy 
has disappeared without effecting anything at all from 
first to last A scratch pack of ancient monitors might 
conceivably have done better. It is easy to say that it 
was not the use but the abuse of Port Arthur that 
brought about this calamity. Superficially the sugges- 
tion IS correct, but it overlooks the human factor and 
the lessons of history which show that when a low- 
average leader has a hole to creep into in time of 
danger he proceeds to creep into it. Had any one of 
the five Russian admirals successively in command 
steamed out to sea with the firm determination to 
conquer or to die, he would have honourably served the 
national cause, and perhaps have permitted the ships 
from the Baltic to gain for Russia the command of the 
sea. There was no other course but this legitimately 
open to him, since the Russian Admiralty knew its own 
weakness in the West and the months that would 
elapse before the Baltic squadron could be ready to sail. 
But the syren harbour of refuge, as its custom is, and 
always will be, kept whispering of the soft solace of 
that fatal shelter, where fleet and garrison were neces- 
sarily and inevitably engulfed in a common catastrophe, 



486 DE PROFUNDIS 

without any benefit to the general cause of a nature to 
compensate for the moral and material disaster deliber- 
ately incurred. 

The abandonment of Port Arthur would have com- 
pelled the squadron to go out and fight. It has been 
proved that nothing else would have effected this 
object. The setting free of 80,000 men would have 
greatly strengthened Kuropatkin's field army and have 
allowed him to take the ofiensive. A fierce attack by 
the Russian scjuadron would most probably have 
effected such senous damage in Togo's fleet as to pre- 
pare the way for the Baltic ships and promise a great 
chance of final victory. The Pacific squadron was 
beyond all comparison better manned and officered than 
any other fleet Russia could send to sea. How could 
any other hope to succeed when the pick of the Russian 
nsLvy had failed ? 

Commenting upon the aberration of mind of Russian 
strategists as long ago as March 9, we quoted from the 
Kronstadtski Viestnik some paragraphs which appeared 
to convey the Russian naval views of the situation of 
that time. " The passive attitude of our fleet,** declared 
this naval organ, '' has an immense importance, seeing 
that its presence covers the right wing and rear of our 
army, as well as the railway connection with Port 
Arthur. The despatch of the Russian fleet in search 
of the enemy would amount simply to leaving our 
coast line at the mercy of the Japanese." To that we 
made reply that it was difficult to sum up more con- 
cisely in a few phrases all that a navy was not intended 
to do, and that if this statement represented the pre- 
vailing feeling in Russian naval circles we need not 
expect to see the Pacific squadron recover from its 
earlier misfortunes. We remarked upon the profound 
and unfathomable depths which separated Russian and 
British ideas of maritime strategy and the uses of a 
war-fleet, and affirmed that the Russian theories be- 
longed to the potamic epoch of naval war. Finally, we 
left contemporary history to prove or refute the ^esis 



PORT ARTHUR 487 

of the Russian naval journal by the logic of accom- 
plished facts. It is needless to point out how utterly 
these Russian theories now stand condemned by the 
history of the past. 

That Port Arthur has contained before its walls a 
certain number of troops which might otherwise have 
been added to Oyama's armies is evident. That it has 
resisted, and stiU resists stoutly, and gives all that it 
is in a condition to give is also clear. But, to vary 
slightly a famous saying, la plus grande forteresse au 
monde ne pent donner que ce qu'elle a. Russia mistook 
the means for the ends of war and pays the penalty. 

The idea that Port Arthur necessarily detained 
before its walls a larger number of Japanese than there 
were Russians within the fortress, and thereby allowed 
Kuropatkin the necessary time to secure success, cannot 
be allowed to stand as a correct reading of the situation. 
When once the investment was complete and the 
Japanese armies were landed. Marshal Oyama had 
the central situation. He could, if the situation upon 
the main theatre permitted, send down troops to the 
besiegers to take part in an attack. He could, in the 
event of a great battle in the main theatre, withdraw 
part of the besiegers to reinforce his army and then 
return them to Nogi after the fight. M. Gaston Dru 
declares that 25,000 men from before Port Arthur 
reached Oyama on October 14. Whether this was so 
or not is immaterial ; whether Oyama might not have 
taken the same step at Liauyang history will say ; the 
fact remains that this chass^-crois^ was always possible, 
and there was a very fair chance that it would escape 
the enemy's observation. 

The suggestion which has been made by Captain 
Mahan that the importance of Port Arthur lay in the 
fact that it obtained delay for Russia, would certainly 
have been a valid reason for the retention of the fortress 
had such delay enabled Russia to outstrip Japan in her 
capacity for subsequent assembly of force by sea or 
land. It had no such influence. The Baltic Fleet was 



488 DE PROFUNDIS 

not ready, nor were there reasonable grounds for a 
belief that it could be made ready in time to profit, 
through aid to be rendered by the Pacific squadron, 
by a resistance to the bitter end at Port Arthur. As 
regards the armies, a high authority wrote in The Times 
of April 28 that " the water communications of Japan 
exceed by far in copiousness those of Russia by rail," 
and he described this fact as "definite superiority, 
initial and continuous," asserting, as indeed events have 
tended to demonstrate, that until this situation was 
reversed or modified, Russia's " inferiority must endure 
until Japan has sent forward her last reserves or 
exhausted her Treasury," a misfortune fi-om which she 
is happily still far removed. In these circumstances 
the preponderating advantages of delav to Russia were 
not apparent, while the price paid for the pursuit of this 
chimera has certainly proved excessive. It may be 
fi-eely allowed that had Nogi's army been present at 
Liauyang the Japanese victory might have been more 
decisive. So, also, would Kuropatkin's defence have 
been stronger if Stossel's 80,000 men had been in the 
field. The failure to gain the decisive success antici- 

?ated must be put down to other causes besides these, 
'he result of Prince KhilkofTs splendid energy was 
not, we should judge, recognised at a sufficiently early 
date in Tokio ; it was in the nature of a surprise. 
Moreover, the waste of strength in the frontal attack 
at Liauyang, and the consequent reduction in strength 
of Kuroki s force charged with the execution of the 
decisive movement, were tactical faults which rendered 
a Sedan unattainable. 

Nor can we say that the higher direction of the 
attack upon Port Arthur, although displaying the 
extreme of valour, hardihood, and resolution, has been 
anything to accept as a model for this genre dexerdce. 
We had to warn the Japanese not to take the precedent 
of 1894 as a guide ; we advised them to establish the 
mastery in artillery fire, and not to treat the fortress in 
such cavalier fashion as they did when it was held by 



GENERAL NOGI 489 

Chinese. Yet these friendly warnings passed unheeded ; 
the besiegers' artillery was inferior to its mission; it 
was not until a very late stage in the attack that guns 
were sent which should have been provided at first. 
To the valour of the splendid infantry of Japan was 
confided the task of breaking their heads and their 
hearts against permanent fortifications with material 
obstacles uninjured and batteries unsubdued. It was 
too much to ask of gods or men. Yet we must all 
admit that the great and pathetic figure of (Jeneral 
Nogi is beyond our criticism, since the general course 
of his operations w&s doubtless dictated from army 
headquarters, where the decision was probably made 
according to the best judgment of the situation at the 
moment Those who have never made mistakes, it is 
truly said, have never made anything, and least of all 
have they made war. 

Nevertheless, despite failures in execution, which 
are to this extent faults that history finds few merits 
except in success, the inherent defects of the Russian 
strategic conception were so great that no serious 
disadvantage accrued to Japan. As against the losses 
incurred in costly assaults by the Japanese, we have to 
place the losses of the Russian field armies in the futile 
endeavours to relieve Port Arthur — losses which have 
amounted to 200,000 men and have ended in total and 
absolute failure, while those of Japan have gained 
victories and have resulted in the entne destruction of 
a great squadron. 

As the days wore on, and the armies on each side 
grew larger. Port Arthur assumed, so far as land forces 
were concerned, less and less importance. If 80,000 
men might have turned the scale in the beginning, 
when the numbers available on each side were com- 
paratively small, they became only a detachment when 
half a million men were at grips in the main theatre. 
When the heroism and devotion of the garrison were 
put to the supreme test it was a matter of comparatively 
minor importance, as regards the final results of the 



440 DE PROFUNDIS 

war on land, whether they held out or surrendered. 
The field army was beaten again and again, and no 
heroism at Port Arthur made any material difference 
to the result from the moment that the three Japanese 
armies, adequate for victory though insufficient for 
annihilation, were all assembled, and were set in motion 
for the attack. As to the ships within the perimeter 
of the defences — the true quarry of the Japanese sleuth- 
hounds — ^their situation became precarious to a degree 
when the siege batteries began to throw shells upon 
their decks long before the main Russian forts were 
seriously attacked — that is to say, as far back as August 7 
last. Like hares between the beaters and the guns, 
the ships fled hither and thither within the narrow 
shell-swept harbour, until at length they succumbed 
to the first well-placed shots or were sunk by their 
own crews as a preferable alternative. All that the 
garrison could do in these distressing circumstances, as 
we remarked at the time, was to show the world that 
the Russian are ideal troops for the defence of forti- 
fications — a fact that we most of us knew before. 

But if, locally considered, the retention of Port 
Arthur offered unbalanced disadvantage to the Russian 
cause by sea and land, did it profit the general strategy 
of the campaign or the reverse ? Can any one doubt 
the answer? Port Arthur has been a far worse 
entanglement to the Russians than Ladysmith to the 
British in South Africa. There was no more strategic 
liberty for the Russian army. The entire campaign 
resolved itself into a costly, useless, and stupid effi>rt 
to relieve a fortress deliberately isolated, and to undo 
in haste what had been wilfully done at leisure. 

The retention of Port Arthur has caused the 
Russian army to break and spend itself in one frantic 
effort after another to attain the unattainable. It has 
caused, as we said it would cause, a total reversal of 
the original plan of campaign, which proposed a general 
retreat to the interior until such hour as Kuropatkin 
found himself strong enough to attack. That plan was 



THE TRUE ROLE OF FORTRESSES 441 

not only the best, but, in the event of failure to over- 
throw the First Japanese Army after landing, the only 
plan worthy of the name. 

But the fateful magnet was always there, and its 
pernicious influence continuously beguiled the Russian 
army from paths of prudence. The effect followed 
the cause as night follows day. Instead of withdrawing 
without useless shedding of blood, as the famous 
communique of February 18 announced, the army had 
its spirit crushed and its strength sapped in one foolish 
adventure after another from the Yalu and Telissu 
onwards ; detachments were continually exposed and 
subjected to defeat in detail, and great battles with 
fearful losses were waged for the express purpose of 
relieving Port Arthur, until now, as the last stage 
of the siege approaches and the real object of the attack 
has been attained, the Russian field army has lost 
200,000 killed, wounded, prisoners and sick, has 
temporarily broken as a weapon of war in Kuropatkin s 
hand, and has totally failed to carry out the mission 
entailed and imposed upon it by the useless retention 
of Port Arthur. The moth has kept on fluttering 
round the candle, and some people are surprised because 
it has burnt its wings. 

The history of the campaign of 1904 in Manchuria 
is the history of wilful neglect of the first principles of 
strategy by sea and land ; and if this neglect has been 
in a measure redeemed by the heroic defence of Stossel's 
splendid garrison, the fact has only caused the Russian 
army to suffer even more grievously than it otherwise 
would have suffered for the unpardonable fault of the 
original strategical sin. 

The perception of the true 7^6le of fortresses, whether 
interior or maritime, is one of the most difficult problems 
in the art of war, and to strike the happy mean between 
neglect and abuse of fortification is by no means so 
simple as it appears. The art of war is not a bunch 
of formulas from which we can draw out one as we 
please ; each case must be considered on its merits and 



442 DE PROFUNDIS 

by the light of reason and sense. Before we devote a 
single shilling to fortifications we want to know pre- 
cisely what the cost is expected to provide. For it is 
evident that hardly ever in history has a blockaded 
army extricated itself by its own unassisted efforts, and 
to bury an army, or still worse, a fleet, in a fortress for 
the mere pleasure of retarding its fall, is clearly an act 
of superlative folly. 

A fortress spells immobility and dispersion ; we 
should therefore look askance at it until proof is given 
that it has a definite purpose to fulfil in a reasoned 
scheme of strategy. We must not allow ourselves to 
be led away by the glamour surrounding an heroic 
defence ; we must look to the end, and leave pim^jnrics 
to poets. We must, in short, regard all fortification as 
an auxiliary, and nothing more. A fortress, because it 
is a fortress and because it is ours, is not necessarily 
an advantage, and may be the reverse. If we gain 
battles we gain the enemy's fortresses ; if we lose them 
he gains ours, whether they are in the interior or upon 
the sea. In each case the larger the garrison the 
greater the disaster. Fortresses, and, in fact, all forti- 
fications, have never played an3rthing but a secondary 
rdle in the defence of states, and no nation has ever yet 
been saved by them. They can, as auxiliaries, occa- 
sionally assist an army, and they can aid naval capital, 
wisely invested and wisely used, to bear splendid interest; 
but they can never re-establish moral superiority when 
once it is lost, nor create it, by the virtue attaching to 
its parapets, if it does not exist. Over the portals of 
the fortress or harbour of refiige should be written, in 
the largest and blackest of characters, the words that 
Dante discovered over the gates of Hell. 

It is our army in India that this homily chiefly 
concerns. They may be truly thankftil that Sir Henry 
Brackenbury once saved them from the incubus of a 
huge army death-trap at Rawal Pindi in the days when 
the engineer dominated the East ; and may they ever 
escape from noxious contact with such germs of 



SUPERFLUOUS ACCESSORIES 448 

strategic death ! For an Imperial race, with the lion 
for its emblem, a sea-going navy and a mobile field 
army are everything, and the rest nothing. It is our 
field army, carried ever, as it must be, on our navy's 
back, that wins campaigns, decides victory, and compels 
peace. All the vast sums spent on superfluous acces- 
sories are more often than not expended at a pure loss. 
Let those who vaunt fortresses build them to their 
heart's content ; but let them emblazon the hedgehog 
in an attitude of defence upon their escutcheon, count 
themselves helots, and abandon for ever the dream of 
Imperial rule. 



CHAPTER XXXVIIl ' 

THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

Ictibus innumeris addiLctaque furdhus arbor Corruit ! 
Port Arthur has fallen ; the " most impregnable of all 
first-class fortresses " is level with the dust, and the 
Rising Sun once more floats upon its ruins ! 

Our first duty is to offer our warmest congratulations 
to our ally upon the heroic accomplishment of the task 
upon which he had set his heart, and the next and 
equally pleasing duty is to congratulate General Stossel 
and his brave garrison upon a great historic defence which 
honours the Russian army and the nation to which it 
belongs. 

We cannot hope to receive for many a long day the 
detailed reports and plans describing and illustrating 
the operations of this great siege from hour to hour, but 
when at length they reach us they will certainly provide 
the text for innumerable and highly technical* discourses 
for a great number of years to come. We must date 
the investment of Port Arthur from May 6, when the 
Kwantung promontory was first isolated from the rest 
of the world by the cutting of the railway by General 
Oku's army at Palantien. It was not, however, till 
May 16 that the Japanese closed upon the Kinchou 
isthmus, and not till May 26 that the Nanshan lines were 
carried and the road into the Kwantung promontory 
laid bare. Even then, time was required before the 
besieging army under General Nogi was ready to move 

' Compiled from articles in The TxmtM of January 3 and 7> 1905. 

444 



THE SIEGE OPERATIONS 445 

forward to the attack, since the assembly of the field 
armies took precedence over that of the siege forces. A 
whole month passed before an advance upon the fortress 
was made, and only upon June 26 were the Japanese 
columns sent forward from Dalny. 

General Stossel had meanwhile made the best of his 
opportunities. If the existence of the sea on three sides 
of the fortress gave the Japanese certain advantages, it also 
allowed of a step-by-step defence of the successive posi- 
tions on the peninsula without serious risk to the safety 
of the large garrison, numbering 30,000 of the land army 
alone, that had been allotted to Stossel for the defence. 
Of these advantages he was not slow to avail himself. 

The attack and defence of the outlying positions 
occupied the Japanese for a whole month, and it was 
not until nearly the end of July that the fortifications 
in the immediate vicinity of the main line of forts were 
assailed. The close attack began about July 26 and 
temporarily ceased after the severe repulse of the 
assaulting column in August, when it was at length 
recognised that the final stages of the siege could not 
be bi^uaqaiy and Nogi and his men sat down to reduce 
the place by means of the slower arts of the engineer, 
bringing up those heavy guns which ought to have been 

f provided earlier in the day. Gradually, and little by 
ittle, the works were driven up to the main line of 
forts, the attack culminating in mine warfare, and day 
by day the Japanese siege artillery, constantly reinforced 
and supplemented by 11 -in. guns, began to establish 
superiority of fire over the powerful and well-concealed 
batteries in the Russian forts, ranging over the harbour, 
town, dock, and workshops, and driving the defenders 
underground. We may say that the simple investment 
lasted from May 6 to June 26, a period of 51 days ; the 
distant attack and defence from June 26 to July 26, a 
period of 30 days ; and the close attack, or siege proper, 
from July 26 to January 1, or 159 days, making a total 
for all the operations which centred upon the fortress of 
240 days. 



446 THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

We are a long way removed from the days of Troy 
and Syracuse, when fortresses held out for years, and it 
may be said generally that the means of attack, in these 
days of long-ranging artillery of large calibre, have out- 
grown and surpassed even the most elaborate devices 
of permanent fortifications of the most approved type, 
organised and defended by the stoutest of garrisons. 
At the cost of 55,000 killed and wounded, the Japanese 
have disposed of over 50,000 Russians, have captured 
town, fortress, and arsenal, and, finally, have achieved 
the overwhelming ruin of the Pacific squadron, which 
has ceased to exist. 

The turning point of the siege operations was un- 
doubtedly the capture of 208-M6tre Hill on Novem- 
ber 80. Until that dominating point fell into Japanese 
hands the besiegers were unable to make sure of the 
effect of much of their fire against the warships shelter- 
ing under Peiyushan. Directly the hill was taken a 
post of observation was installed on the summit, and 
by means of indications sent by the observing officers 
at this spot the naval brigade directed their fire with 
fatal effect upon the warships, and subsequently upon 
the inner defences when the ruin of the ships was 
assured. The attack on the Erhlung and Keekwan 
forts suffered from the absence of any close position 
for the besiegers' batteries in this quarter, and the 
eventual capture of these vital points by the Japanese 
infantry and engineers must be reckoned as one of the 
finest feats of the whole war. Once these positions and 
208-M^tre Hill were in Japanese hands the game was 
up, since it was only a matter of time for the Japanese 
to pass up their heavy guns and establish them m the 
conquered forts or upon adjacent sites. 

StossePs letter to General Nogi, dated December 81, 
declared that further resistance was useless considering 
the conditions within the fortress. In his despatch of 
December 28 to his own government he said that " the 
position of the fortress is becoming very painful. Our 
principal enemies are scurvy, which is mowing down 



STOSSELS despatches 447 

the men, and 11-in. shells, which know no obstacle and 
against which there is no protection. There only remain 
a few persons who have not been attacked by scurvy." 

In a further despatch of December 29, he added : 
" We will only hold out a few days longer. We have 
hardly any ammunition left. I have now 10,000 men 
under arms. They are all ill." 

Telegraphing on January 1, he said : " Great Sove- 
reign ! Forgive I We have done all that was humanly 
possible. Judge us, but be merciful. Eleven months 
of ceaseless fighting have exhausted our strength. A 
quarter only of the defenders, and one-half of them 
invalids, occupy 27 versts of fortifications without 
support and without intervals for even the briefest 
repose. The men are reduced to shadows." 

In a telegram from Stossel published on January 28, 
the figures for the land forces which surrendered are 
given at 8,000 on the positions, 4,000 from hospital ** who 
wished to be dealt with," 1,800 medical staff and non- 
combatants, 8,500 frontier guards, sappers, and gunners, 
and 18,135 in hospital, or a total of 25,985 exclusive of 
the navy. 

General Nogi's report, sent on from Tokio January 8, 
gives the total number of prisoners at 878 officers and 
28,491 men. The official list of material captured at 
Port Arthur included 59 permanent forts, 546 guns, 
including 54 large and 149 medium calibre, 82,670 
rounds of gun ammunition, 60 torpedoes, 30,000 kilo- 
grammes of powder, 85,252 rifles, 2J million rounds of 
small-arm ammunition, 290 ammunition waggons, 606 
transport waggons, 2,096 sets of cart harness, 1,920 
horses, 4 battleships (including the SnmstopoU which is 
entirely under water), 2 cruisers, 14 gunboats and tor- 
pedo craft, 10 steamers, 8 steam launches and 12 various, 
besides 35 steam launches that can be repaired. 

Stossel, so far as we can appreciate the position 
without official details of the siege, surrendered a few 
weeks before the absolute necessity for the step had 
arisen, but his brave garrison had done all that the most 



448 THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

exacting code of military honour could demand, and all 
that human energy and devotion could accomplish. It 
is with a feeling of relief that the world receives the news 
that it is to be spared the dreaded report of the annihila- 
tion of the much-enduring remnant or the Russian troops 
after a general and final assault. It may be that Kondra- 
tenko, Smirnoff, Fock, and others deserve a lar^e share 
of the credit for a fine resistance ; it may be also that 
harmony did not reign undisturbed in the higher circles 
of the command. A siege of this character is almost 
the greatest trial to which human nature can be exposed, 
and it is not given to every one to possess the iron nerve 
capable of withstanding the strain day after day without 
flinching. But honour to whom honour is due. Stossel, 
whatever his personal virtues or failings may have been, 
represents the Russian nation at Port Arthur, and to 
him belongs the credit for a right gallant and soldierly 
resistance which will live when the memory of much 
that is less noble has passed away. The splendid defence 
of Port Arthur sheas a ray of glory upon the Tsar's 
standards, and redeems them from the stain of their 
earlier defeats. 

It is small wonder, indeed, that Tokio makes holiday 
to-day, for the Japanese army, under General Nogi, one 
of the finest figures that the war has produced, has 
surpassed itself in the moving events of the great siege. 
We expect many things from the East, but tenacity 
perhaps least of all, and it is precisely in tenacity that 
Japan has excelled. Neither her generals nor her 
troops have been discouraged by failure, and the records 
of the successive assaults upon the strongest works that 
the art of the engineer has yet devised place the crown 
on the arch of the triumphs of our brave allies. 

Whatever views we may entertain as to the role 
which Port Arthur has played in this great campaign, 
there can be but one opinion upon the conduct of the 
operations by besiegers and besieged. The combatants 
have been worthy of each other, and it may be that the 
mutual respect and esteem which often arise between 



AFTER THE FALL 449 

chivalrous combatants after hard blows given and re- 
ceived will in this case lay the foundation of an even 
kindlier feeling when the bitterness of defeat has passed 
away. 

Russia has Httle to show for the heroism of her sons 
at Port Arthur. Had she been able to admit the possi- 
bility of eventual defeat in the war, she might, perhaps, 
have taken advantage of the stout defence of her Pacific 
fortress to secure favourable terms of peace. The hour 
is now past, and upon Kuropatkin devolves the task of 
meeting, if he can, the formidable shock of the Japanese 
armies when the icy grasp of winter is relaxed and 
Oyama's columns are once more arrayed for battle and 
move forward to the attack. 

The fall of Port Arthur and the dawn of a new year 
make it a suitable, moment to review the general situa- 
tion at the front, and to notice the changes that have 
taken or are taking place consequent upon the reversion 
of the whole of the Liautung Peninsula to Japan. 

It is stated that the capture of the great Pacific 
fortress will be followed by the transfer of the larger 
part of the besieging army to Liauyang, and that only 
a small body of men will be left as a garrison at Port 
Arthur. This seems a natural proceeding, and we must 
consequently allow that General Nogi's three divisions 
will soon become available on the Shaho, either as a 
general reserve, or, as Colonel Gadke seems to suggest, 
to prolong the right of the Japanese line, which will 
then be stronger by some 50,000 additional troops of 
tried value. 

But this reinforcement, valuable as it is, will not in 
itself be sufficient to afford that annihilating numerical 
superiority which the Japanese must now desire to 
provide in order to deal a crushing blow when the 
season allows a forward movement. We have constantly 
referred to the necessity which has confronted the Tokio 
War Office, for the last four months past, to enlarge 
their views of the requirements of the situation in view 
of the great achievements of Prince KhilkofF's depart- 

29 



450 THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

meiit upon the Russian line of communications, and 
there is every reason to believe that this has been done. 

In order to obtain peace, ordinary battles, followed 
by ordinary victories and ordinary results, will only lead 
to a useless prolongation of the struggle. Numbers 
only can annihilate, and the result of the great battles 
of Liauyang and the Shaho must long ago have im- 
pressed this maxim in a very forcible manner upon the 
Emperor of Japan and his great council of the Elder 
Statesmen. 

It will be recalled that, as a reply to the creation of 
Gripenberg's Second Army, the Japanese made a change 
in tneir recruiting laws. Instead of passing three, nine, 
and eight years respectively in the active, reserve, and 
militia categories, men were ordered to form part of 
these severid divisions of the army for three, fourteen, 
and three years. The total period of liability was not 
increased ; but five classes of men were transferred from 
the militia, which is not sent abroad, to the reserve, 
which rests under this liability. The MiHtar Wochen- 
hlatt declares that an addition of 250,000 men was 
expected from the reintegration of these five classes in 
the reserve, but that only 94,000 men were obtained. 
This conclusion assumes that the Japanese War Office 
did not know the numbers of trained men which they 
possessed — a suggestion which is inherently absurd, and 
we shall certainly stand by the conclusions of the well- 
informed Tivies correspondent at Tokio, who has given 
a far higher figure. 

But, whatever the exact number may be, the re- 
sources of the population of Japan have not as yet been 
seriously drawn upon, heavy tnough the losses at the 
front have been. The organ of the German Staff allows 
that there are still 170,000 reservists and 190,000 men 
of the newest class of recruits available, and that, in- 
cluding all sources, the grand total amounts to 849,000 
men ; it thinks, however, that there is a great want of 
instructors, and that it is therefore materially impossible 
to raise the strength of the field army higher than 



THE WIZARD KHILKOFF 451 

350,000. But from all this the Wocfienblutt argues that 
the peace effectives of an army must be large, and must 
be proportionate to the increase of population — a con- 
clusion which reminds us that there are certain laws 
before the Reichstag which may be more intended to 
benefit by the argument adduced than the general 
public. We should rather feel inclined to say that the 
numbers of a national army must be proportionate to 
the hardest task it may reasonably be expected to con- 
front in time of war, and that the proportion between 
the eflfectives of an army and the numbers of a popula- 
tion have no necessary connection with this task. 

However this may be, there is no doubt that, apart 
from the steady despatch of trained men to maintain 
the units at the front at their full war strengths — a 
procedure which the Japanese have adhered to through- 
out — there has been a great levy of younger recruits in 
Japan. All the barracks and depots are crowded with 
men, and there is no reason to doubt the statement that 
the field army is in progress of expansion to half a 
million of men, in order to compete on level terms with 
the similar deployment which Russia proposes and hopes 
to display in the spring. It may be, indeed, that the 
Japanese numbers will be larger, for there can be no 
doubt that for months past no possible miscalculation 
can have been made, and that the preparations for the 
forthcoming struggle have been and are being developed 
on a scale worthy of the occasion and the cause. 

While Tokio is now within six days of Liauyang by 
easy and well-ordered stages, the eye of tlie Trans- 
Siberian needle is proving once more refractory to the 
struggles of the Russian camel. Despite all the energy 
and efforts of the wizard Khilkoff* the great forces of 
time, distance, and nature remain as ever the firm allies 
of Japan. In a ukase of November 2 last it is stated, 
on the authority of the Russian Director of Military 
Communications, that, thanks to the efforts of Khilkoff s 
assistants, the concentration of the First Army of 
Manchuria had been completed about six weeks earlier 



462 THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

than had been anticipated. In other words, some 40,000 
more men were placed at the front for the period of the 
great battles during September and October last than 
were counted on in the initial schemes of troop trans- 
port. It is not impossible that this result came as a 
surprise to the Japanese, since there is such a thing in 
the art of military information as too much knowledge, 
and, if the general plan of transport eastward was known 
in Tokio, a deviation from the plan to Russian advantage 
may possibly not have been foreseen. 

But there are various signs and portents that the 
increased traffic on the railway during August and 
September last has not been maintained under winter 
conditions. The 8th Army Corps from the west began 
to entrain on October 8 ; but it was not until Decem- 
ber 10 that the last combatant unit of this army corps 
reached Mukden, and it is believed that, even on the 
date last named, many sections of- the baggage, medical, 
and general trains of MilofF's corps were still held up on 
the Cis-Baikal portion of the Siberian Railway. In rear 
of the 8th Corps there are following the 1st and 2nd 
Brigades of Rifles, which, together with the 5th Brigade, 
were passed in review by the Tsar on November 9 
and 10 of last year. These rifle brigades consist of four 
regiments each of two battalions, and have with them 
three eight-gun batteries ; for the purpose of numerical 
calculation they can each be taken at 10,000 combatants 
and 24 guns. As previously suggested, these brigades 
vnR be interpolated in the railway traffic as opportunity 
offers ; at present it would appear that only tne 1st and 
2nd have been entrained. 

Following after these units the 16th Army Corps is 
now in course of transport, and although January 10 
has been named as the probable date of arrival of this 
corps at Mukden, it is extremely doubtful whether the 
anticipation will be realised in view of the fact that 
the transport of the 8th Corps has occupied sixty-eight 
days for the combatant branches alone. Behind the 
16th Corps there will follow the 4th Army Corps, which 



THE RUSSIAN ARMY NOW 458 

is already mobilised, and the residue of the five rifle 
brigades. There are also under orders or in course of 
transport various units of less importance — namely, a 
second Caucasian mounted brigade made up of Terek 
and Kuban Cossacks, similar in organisation to Orbe- 
liani s brigade already in Manchuria, but composed of 
true Cossacks, and not of Georgian and other hetero- 
geneous elements, a third battalion for the Regiment of 
Siege Artillery of Eastern Siberia, the 40th Brigade of 
Artillery with forty-eight guns, besides one regular and 
one reserve railway battalion and two additional batta- 
lions of fortress artillery from Odessa and Kronstadt 
for service at Vladivostok. 

There are two other army corps which have also 
been named as intended to form part of the reorganised 
armies of Manchuria — namely, the 21st and 13th — but 
for the present they can be disregarded, since the railway 
is already promised more troops than it can handle 
before the reopening of hostilities. It would appear 
that Kuropatkin has been reinforced by 55,000 fresh 
troops since the close of the Shaho battle, and by a 
number of drafts to make good losses, the numbers of 
which cannot be exactly determined, but are probably 
not considerable, since the railway has been fully 
occupied. The most trustworthy estimates place the 
numbers of the Russian army at this moment between 
280,000 and 250,000 combatants, and there is no need 
to pay any regard to the fictions of 500,000, 600,000, 
and even 800,000 men which are once more scattered 
abroad in the press of Europe, and even echoed in 
America on the authority of that militant diplomatist 
Count Cassini. That there are over 400,000 Russian 
troops in Manchuria is possible, but many of these are 
in scattered garrisons, others protect the railway, \'ladi- 
vostok detains a heavy detachment, while the newly- 
formed depots for troops at the front engulf and absorb 
a large number of men. 

The mobilisation which took place in Western 
Russia recently is said to have provided about 258,000 



454 THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

men, of whom 187,000 are required to fill up the gaps 
in the corps at the front, while the residue constitute 
the fresh units already named. Even if we are generous 
and grant that 85,000 reinforcements a month can be 
sent east over the railway, it seems likely that the 
258,000 will not arrive at the front before the end of 
July next, when, no doubt, if all questions of supply 
are overcome and the Japanese remain quiescent, the 
anticipated 500,000 men ^vill be assembled. But that 
is much to expect ; not only will the war recommence 
with its customary severity so soon as the climate 
permits, but the waste will also go on as before, and 
the supply question grows more and more difficult as 
the country becomes more exhausted and the numbers 
increase. 

It is, moreover, unlikely that 85,000 men a month 
will be delivered at the front during the winter, since 
the line is showing signs of deterioration in some places, 
and the necessity for heating every carriage throughout 
the journey creates an additional embarrassment. The 
closing of the river lines of transport, which were of 
consi&rable utility for the carriage of wounded during 
the summer, throws a fresh strain upon the line, while 
every day, as the numbers increase, the demands upon 
the railway multiply proportionately. Anxiety is 
steadily growing in St. Petersburg on this vital 
question; and the situation is beginning to turn once 
more, and, temporarily, at all events, somewhat to the 
disadvantage of Russia. It is difficult to believe that 
any very considerable increase of traffic can be obtained 
by further improvements in the line other than by 
means of improved rolling stock and more powerful 
locomotives. Heavier rails have been laid over many 
important sections, but the ideas of doubling the line or 
of building a second railway are all met by the objection 
that they will be very costly and cannot be completed 
in time to affisct the issue of this campaign. The present 
idea appears to be to prolong the Perm-Tumen railway 
iintil it joins the Trans-Siberian at some point fiirthCT 



OBVIOUS DIFFICULTIES 456 

east, and to double the line in certain places ; but no 
firm decision appears as yet to have been taken, nor 
will such decision materially affect the issue of the war. 

Concerning the situation on the Shaho at this moment, 
the armies are in such close proximity that events are 
at the mercy of an incident or a stroke initiated by a 
subordinate. But just as, two months ago, there were 
certain circumstances which led us to believe that 
neither side would advance for some time to come, so 
now there are certain other circiunstances which are 
worth consideration. 

In order to move at this season of the year an army 
must be able to find food, water, forage, and fuel, and 
it must be housed. The supply of water presents 
obvious difficulties at this season, forage there is none 
save what the army carries with it, and all accounts 
show that fuel is only obtained in small quantities and 
with difficulty even while the armies remain halted. If 
the country and the roads present fewer difficulties for 
the movement of carriages at this season than at any 
other, it is not possible for a sustained advance to be 
undertaken without such serious losses of men and 
animals by exposure as would be almost as bad as a 
defeat. Nothing is impossible in war, but many things 
are not expedient; and though no one would care to 
foretell a Russian resolve, which is usually formed 
irrespective of circumstances, it would certainly be a 
very foolish act to initiate an advance without weighing 
all the circumstances and without being able to prosecute 
a movement once begun. Operations at the presen*" 
date, we should judge, can only be usefully undertaken 
by small bodies of troops with special equipment, in 
so far as continuous movements are concerned. More 
important affairs must be limited rather to hours than 
to days, since the losses by exposure for a longer period 
would tend to ruin the army incurring them. Kuro- 
patkin, indeed, in a recent missive to a department at 
St Petersburg, speaks of the losses he expects to incur 
hy cold and exposure when he advances. The ofFensire 



456 THE FALL OF PORT ARTHUR 

is still, evidently, in his mind, but unless he is beguiled 
into an attack before Nogi's troops reach Oyama, there 
is no special fascination for him in movement before his 
reinforcements appear and his three armies are regularly 
constituted. We should certainly believe that he is at 
present in no condition to take the field with success, 
nor can we name a date when this situation is likely to 
be changed. 

If we must all admire the pluck and gallantry of an 
army that does not know when it is beaten, it would 
also be agreeable if we could see some glimmering of 
an understanding of the situation in the circles of the 
Russian Government and in those of the higher com- 
mand. But at present there is none, and consequently 
nothing remains but to continue the war until victory 
inclines to the Tsar's standards as Russia anticipates, or 
until honourable defeat is turned into irreparable disaster, 
as an increasing body of opinion in the rest of the world 
expects. Even Germany shows symptoms of returning 
sense and endeavours to align her military views with 
British and American opinion, now that the constant 
and reiterated assurances of Russian victory emanating 
from Berlin have been so persistently falsified by events. 
We are even told that the German Emperor solenmly 
warned the Tsar of his danger ten days before war 
broke out, and in the coulisses of diplomacy the exact 
words of the Imperial warning are narrated. The story 
has probably been imagined apres coup to restore the 
shattered prestige of German military foresight, but in 
the contrary event his Imperial Majesty is certainly to 
be congratulated upon his prescience, and it is only to 
be regretted, for the sake of Russia, that this remarkable 
warning was not allowed to see the light, and that, on 
the contrary, very different views found expression in 
the organ of the General Staff and in the colunms of 
the officially inspired press, serving to encourage the 
Russians to persevere in the fatal course of action which 
has led thern to the calamities of the present hour. 



CHAPTER XXXIX » 

THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

The order of the day which the Emperor of Russia 
addressed to his army and navy on January 14 is a 
dignified acknowledgment of failure, and a clear ex- 
pression of the Imperial intention to continue the 
contest by land and sea. 

" Port Arthur," declares his Imperial Majesty, " has 
fallen into the hands of the enemy. The struggle for 
its defence lasted eleven months, and for over seven 
months the glorious garrison was cut off from the out- 
side world. Deprived of help and without murmuring, 
the garrison endured the privations of the siege and 
moral tortures, while the enemy continued to gain 
successes. Unsparing of life and blood, a handful of 
Russians sustained the enemy*s furious onslaughts in 
the firm hope of relief With pride Russia witnessed 
their deeds of heroism, and the whole world bowed 
before their heroic spirit. The resources gave out, while 
the onset of fresh hostile forces was constant ; and the 
garrison, its deed of heroism accomplished, had to yield 
to superior numbers. Peace to the ashes of the dead, 
and eternal memory to the never-to-be-forgotten Rus- 
sians who perished in the defence of Port Arthur I Far 
away from Russia you died for Russia's cause, filled with 
love for the Emperor and the Fatherland. Glory be to 
you the living ! May God heal your wounds, and give 
you the strength and patience to bear your sore triafe ! 

' Compiled from articles in TKe Times of January 7, 8, 9, 12, 18, 21 
and 24, 1906, 

467 



458 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

"Our enemy is bold and strong, and the struggle 
with him at a distance of 10,000 versts from the sources 
of our strength is indescribably hard. But Russia is 
powerful. In the thousand years of her life there have 
been still harder trials, still more threatening dangers. 
Every time she emerged stronger and with fresh power 
from the struggle. Our failures have been severe. 
While we lament our losses, we will not allow ourselves 
to be led into distraction. With all Russia, I trust that 
the hour of victory will soon dawn, and pray to God 
that He may bless my dear troops and fleets, in order 
that, united, they may overthrow the enemy and uphold 
the honour and glory of Russia." 

The most striking point of this order of the day is 
the resolution it expresses — ^not, indeed, with confidence, 
but rather with resignation — to continue the war. The 
Imperial Government separates itself in this decision 
from the aspirations of the civilised world, and frx>m 
the almost universally expressed desires of the Russian 
people, who are unable to perceive, now that their eyes 
are partly opened, that anything is to be gained by a 
prolongation of the war, save the exhaustion of Russian 
resources, without compensating profit. But the pill is 
still too bitter for the Russian Government to swallow, 
and between the two courses of peace or continuance of 
the war the Tsar elects that which requires least effort 
and least exercise of will, and is in apparent accord with 
the sentiments and desires of those high dignitaries of 
the Court and Church who believe that their own per- 
sonal and vital interests are indissolubly bound up with 
the success of autocracy in its warlike adventure. It 
might, indeed, have been assumed that the Tsar would, 
in the last resort, bend before the desires of his intimates, 
and that he would rather adopt the line of least resist- 
ance and deluge afresh the plains of Manchuria in blood 
than have the courage and independence necessary to 
face the situation at home and abroad, and restore peace 
to the suffering millions of his people. 

Tlic House of Romanoff, in the persoijs of the 



THE HOUSE OF ROMANOFF 459 

Grand Dukes, has steadily evaded the call of duty 
during the war. These titled magnates, adorned with 
resplendent uniforms ablaze with decorations won on 
the soft carpets of St. Petersburg, have incurred — 
doubtless without their knowledge — the derision of 
soldiers of all the armies of the world. There was 
once a great man of whom it was truly said that he 
was first in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of 
his fellow-countrymen ; nor has there ever been fought 
a great war up to the present time in which the Princes 
of the reigning houses, and many of the leading figures 
in great democracies, have not been the first at the post 
of danger. The House of Romanoff, all save two young 
cadets who paid a flying visit to Manchuria and speedily 
returned, have not led their people in this war, and by 
their abstention have forfeited all claim to consideration 
as soldiers. While seven Princes of the Imperial House 
of Japan have shared the dangers and hardships of the 
war by land and sea, the much larger number of Grand 
Dukes have stayed in their palaces, and have only dis- 
tinguished themselves by the zeal they have shown to 
despatch ikon-laden peasants to fight their battles, and 
by the precipitate manner in which they have hastened 
to ruin the reputations of those who have borne the 
burden and heat of the day. Aristocracy, forsooth ! 
May the fates save us from such decadents! It 
will be an ill day for the peace of the world if the 
miserable example of the House of Romanoff finds 
imitators among those who stand as the leaders of the 
people. 

The demands for peace which have issued from such 
quarters as Washington and Berne ha>'e met with the 
fate that might have been anticipated. They are taken 
as evidence that Japan is weakenmg, and that her friends 
desire to save her from her impending doom. As that 
was the narrow view to take of the sentiment of the 
world, it became a mathematical certainty that it would 
represent the settled conviction of the Russian censor. 
There is, unfortunately, nothing to be gained by such 



4«0 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

well-intentioned efforts, and the heart of Pharaoh is not 
likely to be softened save by a further instalment of 
those plagues which have visibly shaken the Imperial 
confidence and must still be trusted to destroy it. 

The Novoe Vremyay with its customary simplicity, 
seeks in German organs for the usual assurance of 
impending Russian victory, and has no difficulty 
whatever in discovering it. Here Is the Hamburgei^ 
Nachrichten^ for example, which is positive as ever 
that Russia will win ; and the Novoe Vremya lays 
delighted stress on the statement of the German organ 
that " the whole course of the military operations up to 
the present time is such as does not admit of any doubt 
with regard to Russia's final successful issue from the 
war." It is owing to incitements of this perfidious 
character that Russia continues to remain blind to 
the realities of the situation. 

The Russian naval squadrons which have been 
engaged during the past two months in circum-navi- 
gating Africa effected their concentration during the 
first days of the New Year in the waters round the 
northern extremity of Madagascar. It was apparently 
intended that Rozhdestvensky's division, which had 
doubled the Cape of Good Hope, should steam up the 
Mozambique Channel and rejoin Folkersham's ships 
between the Comoro Islands and the north of Madagas- 
car. The bad weather experienced after rounding the 
Cape appears to have caused a change of plan. Rozh- 
destvensky turned east, and passing Cape Ste. Marie, 
the most southerly point of Madagascar, reached 
Antongil Bay, which offers good protection at this 
season of the year. Folkersham arrived at Passandava 
Bay in the north-west of the island on January 8, and 
both divisions appear to have detached numerous vessels 
to Nossi-B^, Majunga, and Tamatave in order to obtain 
supplies and provisions. In addition to these main 
divisions of the fleet, belated detachments are still in 
Cretan and Egyptian ports, where they are apparently 



THE BALTIC FLEET 461 

delayed pending a final decision as to the future course 
of operations. 

The exact condition of the Russian ships is not 
known, and, although rumour has it that one or two 
cruisers and several colliers are in a bad way there is no 
definite information of any serious mishap. The German 
naval Captain von Pustau has, however, given a very 
unfavourable estimate of the fleet and of its chances of 
success, and as this officer was one of the last indepen- 
dent witnesses to visit the ships at Libau and to see the 
admiral in command, his evidence is of value. Some of 
the Russians on board appear to regard it almost as a 
national affront that the north-east monsoon should 
cause them to make such bad weather at this season. 
It may be, however, that the young officers of the 
Grodno Hussars who were shipped at St. Petersburg 
are responsible for these reflections upon the deplorable 
antagonism of the elements. 

The Baltic Fleet left Libau at 1 a.m. on October 16 
of last year, and has consequently already taken eighty 
days on its journey. The Russians have already taken 
as long to traverse little more than half the distance 
which separated them from their objective as they were 
originally calculated to take for the whole voyage, and 
at the present rate of progress they will not reach 
Vladivostok before the middle of March. The Novoe 
y^rcmya has informed us that the fleet burns 8,140 tons 
of coal daily at reduced speed and 433 tons daily while at 
anchor, and that, on an average, three days in eight are 
spent in coaling at anchor. If this is correct, about 
1 70,000 tons will have been consumed since the voyage 
began, a fact which gives some idea of the character of 
the preparation required for operations of this magnitude. 
It may be recalled that during the three months ended 
on November 80 last some 50 coUiers left Cardiff*, Barry, 
and Newport for various points on the way to the Far 
East for the service of the Baltic Fleet, carrying not less 
than 250,000 to 300,000 tons. These colliers will, how- 
exer, themselves have consumed a considerable quantity. 



462 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

and, large as these figures are, it is not yet certain 
whether sufficient allowance has been made for the 
great delays which have occurred in the progress of the 
armada since the plan of the cruise was first made and 
the contracts were placed. 

Meanwhile the Japanese are taking the most energetic 
measures to meet the threatened danger. Their com- 
bined squadron is now in Japanese ports with the 
prospect of at least three months' rest before the contest 
IS renewed, during which period we can be sure that not 
one moment will be wasted in getting the ships and 
crews into prime condition. At the same time a detach- 
ment of the fleet, strength unknown, has been wisely 
despatched to the south in order to note and report the 

Erogress of the enemy and to compel the Russians to 
eep together, colliers and all, or to risk being cut off in 
detail. A network of naval intelligence has been spread 
over all the territories in the Malay Archipelago, and if 
the Russians proceed they are nearly certain to be 
observed and reported, since there is a very considerable 
number of Japanese auxiliary and other cruisers on the 
watch for them. 

It is only natural that French and Dutch statesmen 
should regard the situation with some anxiety. So far 
as the French are concerned, they are placed in a difficult 
position, but it is one that might have been foreseen and 
could have been avoided. The Dutch have hitherto 
taken no share in harbouring the belligerent fleets, and 
we can feel reasonably assured that the great prudence 
that invariably distinguishes Dutch statesmen in foreign 
affairs will not permit any infraction of neutral rights or 
duties in the ports of their East Indian possessions. 
Just as, in the West, the neutrality of Belgium and the 
independence and integrity of both Belgium and the 
Netherlands are in the front rank of British interests, so 
in the East the preservation of Dutch possessions from 
alien interference is a matter which concerns us closely, 
and it is opposed to our interest that anything should 
take place calculated to disturb the existing situation. 



ROZHDESTVENSKY'S INSTRUCTIONS 463 

It is, however, still an open question whether the 
Russian fleet will proceed upon its quest, remain where 
it is, or return. 1 he Tsar returned to St. Petereburg 
on the morning of January 5, and both that afternoon 
and the following day held a council to discuss the 
situation. It is small wonder that no decision was 
arrived at, for each one of the three courses presents 
obvious disadvantages. Is it better to proceed and to 
stand the fire of the Japanese, or to return and incur the 
almost more galling fusillade of European ridicule ? Is 
it possible to find a golden mean, and for the fleet to 
remain, like Mahomet's coffin, poised between earth and 
heaven ? 

If the Russian Admiralty decide according to the 
tables of co-efficients which had such disastrous influence 
upon the resolution of poor Vithoft on June 28, they 
will probably regard a contest as hopeless, especially if 
they are clear that a junction with anything from Vladi- 
vostok that can float is impracticable. On the other 
hand, Klado s campaign, and the promised despatch of 
another squadron from the Baltic on January 28, may 
induce the Tsar to persevere, for it is not a small thinff 
to be asked to recall the armada which has been fitted 
out at such cost after months of effort, and to leave 
the supremacy of the sea to the Japanese without 
appeal. 

To judge from the latest information, it would appear 
that Admiral Rozhdestvensky has been directed to 
model his behaviour upon that of Mahomet's coffin. 
He may not come back to the disturbed land of Russia, 
neither may he seek, in Japanese waters, that passport 
to heaven whicli he might reasonably anticipate after a 
meeting with the Mikado s navy. He must remain 
suspended in mid-ocean, wherever he can or wherever 
he likes, so long as he does not seek salvation in the 
secluded haven of Diego Suarez, under the cover of 
French batteries, to the great danger and inconvenience 
of his present hosts. 

These orders, however, are not remarkable for lucidity 



464 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

or precision. We know, very much to our loss, that the 
cruise of a hostile squadron in these distant waters was 
practicable enough in the old days, when sailing ships 
were able to keep the seas for months at a time, provided 
that fresh water and provisions were occasionally to be 
procured. But modem war-fleets, and especially such 
a fortuitous assemblage of atoms as the Russian fleet, 
have a much shorter tether. They cannot vanish into 
space, and must be provided with coal and many other 
primary necessities for the continuance of their activity. 
A base of some kind is indispensable. The pinions of 
warships are less broad and less strong than in the old 
days, and the oceanic flight of naval squadrons has 
become heavy and laboured. The albatross has given 
place to the cormorant. Sail alone allowed systematised 
cruiser warfare against commerce in the past, and the 
incursion of battle squadrons into distant seas ; every- 
thing that has occurred during the present war under- 
lines the almost insuperable difficulty that besets a 
modem squadron endeavouring to undertake a voyage 
half round the world, when deprived of the aid of 
national coaling stations. The benevolent neutrality of 
France and the organised activity of German coluers 
have hitherto sped the parting guest upon his way, but 
the subsequent proceedings of the armada will be beset 
with greater difficulties. 

If orders are given to proceed we shall undoubtedly 
witness one of the most deeply interesting dramas that 
has occurred in any maritime war of our time ; but wc 
must also remember that this fleet is the last naval hope 
of Russia, and that if it is destroyed, as it probably will 
be for all practical purposes, whether it wins or loses, 
Russia sinks to a naval rank which practically wipes her 
off* the list of naval Powers for many years to come. 
Captain Klado may mock at the " ulterior objects ** of 
Russian diplomacy, and, from a military point of \Hew, 
he has every right on his side. At the same time we 
can quite understand that it is a serious matter for the 
Russian Gk>vemment to face the result of a fresh naval 



THE UNDERWRITERS 465 

defeat, and we cannot wonder that there is hesitation 
where success is so little assured. 

No one, in this country certainly, is likely to miss 
the lessons of sea power which have been once more 
taught us by the great events of the war. They meet 
us at every turn, and we could not escape from them if 
we would. Sea supremacy is the beginning and middle 
and end of the whole war, and there is surely not a 
nation nor a government in the world that has not 
realised the situation to the full. Let us only recall 
that in 1894 three Great Powers with mighty armies 
amounting to some ten millions or more of armed men 
objected to the presence of Japan in Liautung, and 
courteously but firmly requested her to leave. She 
left — ^and has returned, and the reason why the protest 
of 1894 is not renewed is in the general knowledge of 
the world. 

The preparations made in Japan to give the Baltic 
Fleet a warm and hearty reception have not distracted 
the naval staff at Tokio from their secondary objective — 
namely, the watch upon Vladivostok. Hitherto this 
watch has been ineffective, and some twenty-five steam- 
ships, at least, have recently slipped into that port 
unharmed. The recent capture of the British steamers 
Lethington and Roseley bodes ill for the fifty or sixty 
steamers, mostly British, and insured at Lloyd's at 
premiums of 25 to 35 guineas per cent., which are 
bound for the same port ; and it is not surprising that 
rates for re-insurance have risen to 50 guineas, nor that 
they should rise still higher. " Underwriter " declares, 
in a letter to The Times, that the deepest sympathy will 
be felt for the " unfortunate owner " ; and he expects 
that something of the same feeling may be extended 
to the underwriters at Lloyd's, who appear destined to 
suffer a loss of £140,000, if the Courts of Japan declare 
these ships good prize. He is sanguine. If owners, for 
the sake of lucre, assist the cause of the enemy of our 
ally, and if underwriters, for the same object, finance 
them, they have no right to complain of the losses that 

80 



466 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

fall upon them. They should consider that, for every 
10,000 tons of cargo delivered at Vladivostok, fifty more 
military trains full of troops are placed at the disposal 
of the Russian staff for despatch to the Army of Man- 
churia, and that all this implies longer continuance of the 
war and greater loss to Japan. Far from sympathising 
with ovsmers and underwriters, most people will think 
that these losses serve them right; and the writer, 
certainly, will venture to express his opinion that a 
premium of 50 guineas, in itself almost prohibitive, 
still fails to express, in terms of commerce, the military 
risk incurred in the continuance of this discreditable 
trade. 

Meanwhile the situation in Manchuria has been 
enlivened by a lever de rideau before the war drama 
of 1905. On January 1 two enterprising Russian 
subalterns raided the Japanese railway ten miles north 
of Haicheng, and effected certain unimportant damage. 
The success of this raid doubtless encouraged Kuro- 
patkin to authorise a more considerable operation; 
and on January 8, Mishchenko's division of Cossacks, 
Caucasians, and Dragoons, in three brigades, crossed 
the Hun and marched south on a five-mue front. The 
strength of this division has not been determined, but it 
seems probable that it numbered at least 6,000 mounted 
men with six batteries of light artillery. With this 
ctolumn there went the correspondent of the New York 
HcraMy to whom we are indebted for the best account 
of the raid yet received. 

It is possible that Mishchenko did not cross the 
I^iau during his march to the south, but he apparently 
did so during his retreat. His force spent the night of 
January 8 between the Hun and the Liau, struck the 
confluence of these rivers the following night, and on 
January 10 overcame the brave resistance of a band of 
500 Hunhutzes, of whom 100 were killed. By this 
time the Japanese must have been thoroughly aroused 
by bonfires prepared in advance to give warning. 
Mishchenko's lert and centre brigades met with an 



MISHCHENKO'S RAID 467 

energetic resistance from 300 Japanese infantry at a 
village co\'ering the railway ; but on January 1 1 the 
Caucasian mounted brigade destroyed 500 metres of the 
line north of Haicheng, and the dragoons are alleged to 
have blown up a bridge or culvert near Tashihchiao. 
The Japanese reports admit that some damage was 
done, but tell us that the line was promptly repaired. 
It seems probable that the Russian centre brigade 
attacked Old Niuchwang on the afternoon of January 12, 
and after gaining some temporary success, was driven 
back. Mishchenko himself, accompanied probably by 
his right brigade, swept on to his main objective — 
Niuchiatung — where there was known to be a large 
commissariat store with a weak garrison, and this place 
was assailed on the afternoon of January 12. But two 
days, at least, had now elapsed since the first warning 
of the raid had been received. Troops were hurried 
down by rail over the restored line, and after incurring 
some loss in his attack, Mishchenko drew off with 
nothing done. General Oku despatched a force to 
intercept the retreat, and it would appear that the 
Russians were compelled to cross the Liau in order to 
break clear. Whether or not they succeeded in with- 
drawing without interruption is not definitely ascer- 
tained, but we must assume that Kuropatkin sent out a 
supporting column to bring home the raiders in safety. 

The raid was bold, but, in view of the proximity 
of the main Japanese armies, the shortness of the line 
of communications assailed, and the large accumula- 
tion of Japanese troops in the neighbourhood, success 
was far from assured. All depended upon rapid 
execution by columns travelling fast and light, and 
it is very doubtful, if Mishchenko had six batteries 
with him, and a lot of transport, whether this addition 
to his force was of advantage. From his starting point 
to Yingkow the distance was approximately from 80 to 
100 miles, and he appears to have taken 110 hours to 
traverse this distance, since he started on the 8th and 
only began his attack at Niuchiatung late on the 12th. 



468 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

Greater speed may, indeed, have been impracticable, 
but, nevertheless, the pace was too slow to ensure 
success. We have frequently noticed the failure of 
the Japanese to organise raids against the much longer 
and more exposed Russian communications, and our 
allies have now received a practical demonstration of 
the methods of this nature of operations. But, in 
order to exercise a serious influence upon the course of 
events, Japanese raiders must strike beyond the zone 
of the operating armies, and must be able to maintain 
themselves for weeks at a time in the vicinity of the 
line and break it every night. It is something even to 
arrest the night running of trains, since the traffic on 
the line is thereby both reduced and disorganised. A 
raid of the character of that undertaken by Mishchenko 
can have no serious influence upon the march of events, 
and if Kuropatkin hoped to locate the Japanese masses 
it is possible that he failed. 

W hether this raid was an isolated stroke, or whether 
it was planned as part of some general movement, there 
is little at present to show. M. Gaston Dm telegraphs 
from St. Petersburg that he learns from a sure source 
that Russian offensive movement is imminent, and that 
we are on the eve of great military events ; but as this 
correspondent has been assuring us for weeks past that 
" les Japonais ne prendront pas Port Arthur," he has the 
character of true prophet to regain.^ Kuropatkin, we 
assume, has maintained his position for so long in order 
to take something of the strain off* Port Arthur. He 
is now a free agent, and Oyama is receiving large 
reinforcements both from Port Arthur and from Japan. 
After the lesson of the Shaho, we find it hard to believe 

> M. Dru undoubtedly regained his character of true prophet Lookiii|r 
hack, we see that on January 17 he 'sent to the Echo de Paris the followin| 
accurate forecast of the battle of Heikantai. *' I learn from an authoritathi 
source that it is Gripenberg who will take the offensive in the plain of the 
Hunho with four army corps and a great part of the cavalry and field arUllerr 
Linievitch and a part of the armv under Kaulbars will hold the lines south of 
Mukden, while the rest of KaolbarB' army will harass the Japanese ririit. 
Lastly Kuropatkin, holding the mass of his forces in the centre am rein^se 
one or other of his wings according to circumstances." ' ^^^ 



CHINA 4G9 

tliat the Russian commander will once more commit 
the folly of announcing his intention to the world 
before carrying it into execution. The weather appears 
to have improved, rendering operations of a kind 
practicable, but it is still exceedingly doubtful whether 
either army can profitably undertake considerable 
operations at this season. 

It is at this moment, when Russia still occupies 
Chinese territory in Manchuria which she undertook to 
evacuate, and traverses other parts for the profit of her 
military operations, that she sees fit to address a Circular 
Note to the Powers complaining that the Chinese lamb 
is muddying the waters of neutrality. Russia, no 
doubt, by means of the minatory clauses of this circular, 
hopes to frighten China into the withdrawal of her 
embargo upon the despatch of supplies to the Army of 
Manchuria xna Hsinmintun, an act which has caused 
great irritation at the Russian Headquarters. But the 
effect will rather be to create a greater stringency on 
the frontier, and the best reply of China would be to 
aiTest, if she can, the traffic in live stock from Mongolia, 
which is the main source of the Russian supply. 

Every one knows, and, indeed, recognises with sur- 
prise and satisfaction, that China has been blameless 
within the limits of her impotence to prevent infractions 
of her neutrality by the belligerents. She has carried 
out the orders issued by the proclamation published in 
the Peking Gazette on February 13 last, and has strictly 
adhered to' the desires expressed in Mr. Hay s Note. 
If Count LamsdorfF has not been convinced by the 
statements of the well-informed correspondent of 7'Ar 
Times, ** Far East," he would do well to ask M. Delcasse 
to supply him with a copy of the report of M. Philippe 
Berthelot, who has just returned after two years' 
residence in China on an official mission. M. Berthelot 
declares that the mot dordre in China has been strict 
neutrality throughout, and that the sentiment of 
prudence is dominant at Peking. He states that China 
IS only anti-Russian so far as she is anti-European ; 



470 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1»05 

that she fears she may have to pay the bill at the end 
of the war, and consequently " shams dead " in order to 
escape notice. Japanese influence, he adds, is much 
less than might be expected, and he concludes that the 
Chinese desire no masters, are in no way affected by 
any modem movement, and have no desire save for 
their individual liberty. These opinions of M. Berthelot 
are the direct negation of the contentions of the Russian 
circular. 

The so-called disclosures of the Echo de Paris on 
the subject of Japanese designs against French Indo- 
China are in the same category of ideas. They are 
palpably and demonstrably apocr3rphal, and we miss, 
almost with regret, the practised nand of Esterhazy, 
who would never have committed himself to such a 
clumsy imposture. The world takes such pleasure in 
being gulled that we see even serious journals allow 
themselves the comment that General Baron Kodama 
may have written the rubbish attributed to him. To 
go as far as this we have, first, to assume that Kodama 
was wholly ignorant of important dates, and of leading 
facts of history in which he played a distinguished part« 
and we have further to assume, from the strategical 
lunacy attributed to him, that he is an entirely incapable 
man. For a beginning that is much to ask of us ; but, 
if we take the trouble to read further, it becomes clear 
that the whole conception of this Japanese attack was 
planned by a man who has never given a thought to 
naval warfare and knows nothing of its first' principles. 
So long as France possesses a navy equal to the 
demands of her policy she rests secure, and no Power 
save one possessing a superior fleet can disturb her by 
way of the sea at home or abroad. But if she wages 
war at sea against superior naval forces, then her 
colonies and possessions abroad are not worth six 
months' purchase. The conditions of our own tenure 
of empire rest on precisely similar foundations, and it 
is only if, and when, our respective possessions become 
conterminous with those of great military states on 



ADMIRAL DUBASSOFF 471 

land that we each become subject to all the pains and 
penalties attaching to a continental position. 

Vice- Admiral DubassofF, the Russian representative 
on the international board assembled at Paris to 
inquire into the Nortli Sea incident, has been hitherto 
credited with the diplomatic tact required for the fulfil- 
ment of a delicate mission ; but, unless the account of 
his truly extraordinary statement to the Echo dc Paris 
receives a much more explicit and authoritative contra- 
diction than we gatlier from the Paris correspondent 
of The Times has hitherto been given to it, we shall 
have to conclude that diplomacy is not a business in 
which this gallant sailor is likely to make a reputation. 
For the Echo de Paris is a newspaper so devoted to 
Russian interests, and has so often proved the well- 
informed mouthpiece of the Russian authorities, and 
especially of the Russian Admiralty, that we may feel 
certain it would not lightly have given publicity to 
the views ascribed to Admiral Dubassoffl Even if he 
thought it expedient to repudiate them, we should still 
have good reason to believe that the repudiation was 
dictated by considerations of expediency rather than by 
any radical disagreement of principle. 

It is, indeed, not news to any one that the Russians 
do not consider the Baltic Fleet sufficiently powerful 
to engage the Japanese squadrons with success, but 
for Admiral Dubassoff to declare that, even with the 
promised reinforcement of a third squadron, the task 
allotted to the fleet is still beyond its power cannot be 
described as a very wise or a very spirited confession. 

But that part of the reported interview might have 
been allowed to pass, had it not been supplemented by 
another, in which the admiral has the assurance to 
declare that, things being as they are, Russia will patch 
up a peace in order to renew the war with a powerful 
and invincible fleet at a more convenient opportunity. 
This naval Jack Horner thinks that Russia has but to 
insert her thumb into the pie of war in order to draw 
out the plum of peace. 



472 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

The admiral is completely misinformed, for Russia 
will never obtain peace on those terms ; no, not if she 
wages war for the next ten years. It has, of course, 
always been a matter of serious consideration for Japan 
how far she might be able to rely upon the sincerity of 
Russia when the hour of a settlement approached. The 
admiral now tells her, with a calmness and naUvet^ 
quite unsurpassed, that she cannot rely upon Russia at 
all ; that the peace will be a provisional truce, and that 
it will only be partie remise. 

That being so, many things follow. In the first 
place, as Russia proposes, after peace is signed, to 
set to work to build a fleet in every dockyard at 
home and abroad, Japan must do the same, and the 
only means by which she can pay for this luxury 
without feeling the pinch will be by the extraction 
of a war indemnity of a hundred millions or so from 
her enemy. 

But, even so, will peace ever be signed by Japan on 
such terms ? If it takes two to make a quarrel, it also 
takes two to make a peace, and Japan will never sign 
a truce leaving a shred of territory or a vestige of power 
to Russia in the Far East so long as she has not a 
definite and explicit assurance, adequately guaranteed, 
that she will not be compelled to recommence the 
struggle. Why should she ? Is it not better to con- 
tinue the war under the favourable conditions of to-day 
than to adjourn hostilities until such time as Russia 
has healed her wounds, doubled the Trans-Siberian, and 
reconstructed a fleet ? 

Judgment has not been the strong point of Russian 
character throughout the war, nor have Russians shown, 
at any time, the remotest capacity for placing them- 
selves in the position of their enemy. The Russian 
gambler, having lost his stake, rises from the table and 
proposes to quit the room without settling his losses 
and without the faintest intention of settling them. A 
gambler of this deplorable character sometimes finds 
the door barred and his opponent standing in front of 



GADKE'S VIEWS 478 

it, demanding a settlement before the bolt is drawn. 
Thanks to Admiral DubassofTs indiscretion, this will 
now be the situation of Russia when she rises from the 
game of war, and, if Japan allows her to leave the room 
without a full, frank, and explicit settlement, she is a 
very different Power from what we believe her to be. 
Admiral Dubassoff is most condescending. He will 
leave Japan Port Arthur, and even the ground her 
armies occupy. He is generous, is this diplomatic 
admiral, and we should not be surprised if he were even 
to propose to admit the integrity of Japan as one of 
the conditions of peace. These puerilities might be 
excusable in the children of Russian nurseries, but from 
an admiral, charged with a most important mission by 
his Imperial master, we had the right to expect a 
modicum, at least, of knowledge of the world, and a 
degree, no matter how infinitesimal, of common sense. 

No, peace does not lie upon the ground for the 
first or the last of Russians to pick up when the fancy 
seizes them. Japan has had an almost unparalleled 
course of unbroken victories by land and sea, and her 
situation allows her, not to seek peace, but to accord 
it. We have certainly every right to expect that this 
stupid, not to say disastrous, pronouncement will be 
promptly and categorically disavowed ; for nothing that 
has yet been said or done on either side is more damag- 
ing for the hope of a permanent settlement than this 
amazing piece of ineptitude. 

Colonel Gitdke, whose \ery quaint and original 
letters to the TdgcbUttt from the seat of war are sadly 
missed during this close season of the Eastern cam- 
paign, has favoured Tlic Standard with an interesting 
summary of liis views. He thinks that his Russian 
friends are superior in numbers and in undaunted 
courage ; he does not consider that the chances of a 
Japanese victory at Mukden are very great ; he still 
harps on Korea and its capture by Kuropatkin ; but he 
admits that the war is abhorred by the Russian nation, 
and declares that he cannot venture any forecast of the 



474 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

events of the second campaign, since they remain veiled 
from him by the greatest uncertainty. 

The German colonel is naturally forced to impose 
a great reserve upon himself, since it is not fitting that 
he should say anything that might be of disadvantage 
to those who have been his hosts, and, we trust, may 
be again. But, reading between the lines, we see a 
marked change in his tone since he first began to write 
upon the war, and, if his thoughts still run on Russian 
victories, they are evidently inspired by no very remark- 
able confidence. He is quite right, in the Russian 
interest, to count the armies by battalions, since the 
Russians have preferred to send fresh units instead of 
drafts to make good losses, but to compare 840 Russian 
with 268 Japanese battalions is scarcely an illuminating 
contrast 

The Japanese units, thanks to the regular play of 
the depdt system, which is indispensable for success in 
war, have been consistently maintained at frill strength 
throughout the campaign. Gadke does not tell us, as 
no doubt he might, that when Kuropatkin began the 
Shaho battle his companies averaged only 150 men 
apiece, instead of 240. He does not tell us that Russian 
regiments, after that action, became battalions, and bat- 
talions companies, nor does he bring out, as an example, 
the condition of the 10th Army Corps at the end of 
November. We must t'herefore fill up the gap in his 
narrative. 

The war strength of a Russian army corps gives 
over 28,000 rifles ; but at the date we have named the 
10th Army Corps could only place 9,300 rifles in the 
firing line. The 10th Army Corps, in short, was only 
one-third of its proper strength. Since the Shaho was 
fought the 8th Army Corps has reached Mukden, and, 
if all has gone well on the railway, the combatant parts 
of the 16th Army Corps and of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th 
Rifle Brigades should now be at disposal, representing 
an increase of about 100,000 men and 200 guns during 
the past three months, and making up the total strength 



LIBERAL MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA 475 

ot* the army, at a generous estimate, to about 270,000 
men and 1,230 guns. The Japanese, according to a 
usually well-informed Austrian military journal, have 
been correspondingly reinforced by the 7th, 8th, 
Formosa, and two reserve divisions, equalising matters 
at least ; while before the campaign reopens there will 
reach the army, or appear in some other part of the 
theatre of war, very heavy reinforcements of fresh 
troops from Japan. 

v\''hen our German mentor comes to discuss the 
intentions of the Russian commander he is on safer 
ground, and his opinions are possibly of greater value. 
He is inclined to believe that Kuropatkin will wait 
till the end of April before making any great effort, 
which is a sensible view, considering the delay entailed 
by the reorganisation of the three Russian armies. He 
thinks, however, that the Japanese are not likely to 
await the moment which is most favourable for their 
enemy, and no one can deny that this also is highly 
probable. At what precise moment the Japanese 
numbers will reach their maxivmrn it is not for us 
to inquire ; but we can feel reasonably well assured 
that the moment will be selected with full knowledge 
of all the circumstances, and that their attack will be 
carried out with the desire and intention of obtaining a 
decisive victory. 

Apart from the closing scenes of the great tragedy 
of Port Arthur, the attention of Russia and of the 
civilised world has been almost wholly absorbed of 
late by the Liberal movement which has shaken the 
autocratic edifice from roof to basement, and must 
necessarily have momentous consequences, since it is 
clear that the forces which have produced this political 
disturbance draw their strength from every class of 
the Russian community, from the highest nobles down 
through every intermediate class to the lowest of the 
peasants. This c\olution, which trembles on the brink 
of revolution, can hardly fail to have a very decisive 
influence upon the duration of the war, since not only 



476 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

are men's minds in Russia wholly preoccupied with 
projects of internal reform, but they are also set upon 
the arrest of hostilities as a necessary preliminary to 
these reforms. The state of Poland, and the excesses 
committed by mobilised troops, which have been of 
a far more serious nature than has been allowed to 
transpire, all tend in the same direction. 

Tne great Liberal movement in Russia is by fiEU* the 
most important event in the foreign politics of our 
time, and deserves every attention on the part of 
distant observers. Whether it will succeed, and, if 
so, what will be its effect upon foreign politics, is 
still hidden in the gloom of the future, but that it 
will necessarily entail a weakening of Russian power, 
or a period of rest for Russia's neighbours, is at present 
quite unproved. The French Revolution was a great 
explosive force which produced results far beyond the 
borders of France herself. Far from thinking that a 
Russian revolution will be confined to the territories 
of the Tsar, we should rather ask ourselves whether 
this great national movement may not entail political 
consequences transcending even those of the great 
revolt of France. When the Slav genius, hitherto 
trammelled and trodden down, finds scope at last for 
its superabundant energies and remarkable gifts, we 
may all be compelled to rearrange our ideas. 

The demands upon the Russian population during 
the past year have been very heavy. The contingent 
for 1904 was fixed at 447,302 men by a ukase of 
June 20 of last year, a figure representing an increase 
of 126,570 men over the numbers for 1908 ; whereas 
during the last twenty years the average increase of the 
contingent has stood at about 5,000 men. In addition 
to this drain upon the people, there have been the 
successive partial mobiUsations, numbering seven in 
all, up to and inclusive of that of December 15 last, 
to which we have already alluded. Out of the 764 
recruiting districts, all but 250 have been already 
bled for men, some once, some twice, and in a few 



ENDLESS DRAINS 477 

cases even as many as three times. The exact numbers 
taken for despatch to the East, and to fill the place of 
units despatched from Western garrisons, cannot at 
present be given with the desirable accuracy, but it 
would appear that, out of an average of 5,000 avail- 
able reserves in each district, nearly one-half have been 
already withdrawn from the districts affected by the 
mobilisation orders. The youngest classes have, of 
course, been taken first; but it seems likely that the 
order of mobilisation carried out last December affected 
a much larger number of men than any previous order, 
and that it has entailed the employment of an unusually 
high proportion of married men. According to the 
writer's mformation, the number affected by the 
December mobilisation was 237,000, which is more 
Ukely to be correct than the figure of 320,000 given 
by foreign professional journals, and confessedly only 
a rough approximation. 

These double demands of increased contingents and 
endless drains upon the reserves must necessarily have a 
deplorable influence upon the population of Russia, and 
it is well known that mobilisation during winter has a 
particularly cruel effect upon the peasants, since they 
have often to travel long distances to join their head- 
quarters, and generally find no means of restoring their 
treasured sheepskins or fur coats to their families. 
These valuable possessions are generally sold for a 
song to the local Jew, and only in rare instances are 
returned to the peasant's family. The unit of labour 
in Russia from time immemorial has been a man, a 
woman, and a horse. The removal of so many working 
hands must affect a scattered agricultural community 
very seriously, and, as all evidence shows that the war 
grows more unpopular every day, there may be limits 
beyond which even Russian autocracy cannot safely 
travel. 

This general disturbance of the social hfe in agri- 
cultural centres has now been rendered more dangerous 
by an extension of the unrest to the manufacturing 



478 THE SITUATION IN JANUARY, 1905 

classes of St. Petersburg. The workmen of the Obouk- 
hoff foundry, of the Putiloff* manufactory, of the Lezner 
and Stieglitz establishments, and, lastly, of the Neva 
dockyard, are all out on strike, and, if the railway 
employes join in the movement, a very grave national 
danger will confront the Russian Government. The 
solidarity of labour in Russia and the close attach- 
ments between the workmen in the rural districts and 
the towns explain the sudden and notable outburst of 
something that already resembles a general revolt, and, 
if the 40,000 men of the garrison of the capital are 
perfectly capable of suppressing an outbreak, it is 
also necessary to remember that the 1st Army Corps 
of the garrison has been sent east, and their place 
has been taken by reserve troops, and that it has yet 
to be proved whether the army can be trusted to put 
down a movement which has a political complexion, 
and is either openly or secretly favoured by nine-tenths 
of the Russian people. 

Those who have seen a Russian mob driven about 
like sheep by a couple of Cossacks, armed with nothing 
more formidable than the nagaika^ or Cossack whip, 
may indeed doubt whether Russians have the genius 
of revolution, but the Liberal movement has been so 
rapid, its dominance over opinion so marked, and its 
effects so widespread, that no one will care to foretell 
the future, or to affirm that the interests of a small and 
partly effete governing class are certain to overcome 
the desires, the demands, and the insistence of a great 
people. 



CHAPTER XL^ 

THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAI 

Some time after the last great conflict, which might 
with greater justice and expediency rather have been 
called the battle of Yentai than of the Shaho, the 
Japanese gradually extended their left towards the Hun, 
and the snow-battle of January 25 to 29, called 
Heikautai or Sandepu, was restricted, in the main, to 
a certain number of fortified villages and localities near 
the frozen waters of that river. Of these villages, 
Sandepu, and the hamlet variously described as Hei- 
kautai, Kheigutaya, or Cheigutai, were the chief centres 
of attraction. 

The Russian force engaged was the 2nd Manchurian 
Army under General Gripenberg, consisting now of the 
8th European Army Corps, a division of the 10th, the 
61st Reserve Division, the 5th Rifle Brigade, and 
the 1st East Siberian Army Corps, besides a large 
body of cavalry under the enterprising Mishchenko, or 
approximately, 85,000 men and 350 guns. 

The Japanese left was thrown back from Sandepu 
south-westward along the left bank of the Hun, as 
though in anticipation of the attack which actually took 

J lace. During the whole course of the battle the 
apanese were greatly outnumbered, and the impor- 
tance of the splendid defence of Sandepu against the 
combined attack of the 8th and 10th Russian Army 

' Compiled from articlet in The TimM of January 31, Februarj 11, and 
from a letter of February 14, 190.5, from The TifneM correspondent at Tokio, 

479 



480 THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAI 

Corps becomes very clear from an inspection of the 
plans at the end of this chapter. January 27 would 
appear to have been the most critical day, but the 
successes of the night attacks on the evening of the 28th 
re-established the Japanese line, and by the 29th the 
balance was completely restored and the Russians were 
driven from the field. 

The subsequent and reiterated counter-attacks made 
by comparatively small bodies of Russian troops upon 
various points of the Japanese line, all of which were 
repulsed with loss, convey the impression that after the 
29th the Second Army was not acting by any central 
impulsion, but rather upon the casual initiative of 
subordinate commanders. 

According to Marshal Oyama, the 8th and 10th 
Russian Army Corps assailed Chenchiehpu, while the 
remainder of the force attacked Heikautai. The latter 
village, according to General Kuropatkin's first despatch 
of January 26, was taken after a brave resistance 
between 10 and 11 p.m. on the night of January 25 ; 
but Sandepu held firm, although portions of the village 
were occupied by the Russians, and, atter suffering 
a loss vanously but unofficially estimated at 1,600 
to 4,000 men, the two Russian army corps retreated 
and restricted themselves to a vicious bombardment. 
General Sakharoff^ is to be complimented upon a 
graceful turn of phrase in his description of this affair. 
He tells us that it was impossible for the Russians to 
remain at Sandepu without risking defeat. It is, 
indeed, customary for one army or the other to quit the 
field at the close of a battle, but it has been usually 
considered hitherto that they do not take this step to 
avoid the risk of defeat, but because they had already 
suffered it. 

As soon as the Russian attack developed, Marshal 
Oyama, following the precedent of the Shaho, promptly 
took the offensive on his left. The battle then resolved 
itself into a number of more or less independent en- 
counters for the possession of the various localities, and« 



THE BRUNT OF THE FIGHTING 481 

at Heikautai especially, attacks and counter-attacks 
followed in quick succession. This village and other 
important positions remained finally in Japanese hands, 
and the Russians were ultimately driven away to the 
north, with a loss of some 20,000 killed, wounded, and 
prisoners, while the sufferings entailed upon the troops 
by exposure in the open during the very worst season 
of the year are certain to be translated by a large muster 
of candidates for admission to Russian hospitals. 

* The first and most striking fact on the Japanese 
side is that the brunt of the fighting was borne by two 
Japanese divisions and a brigade of cavalry. Two other 
divisions were engaged, but the part they took in the 
fight was so subordinate that it need scarcely be taken 
into account. Among the seven Russian divisions, 
about one half were troops newly arrived from Europe ; 
troops which had never fought previously, nor had ever 
known the bitterness of defeat. Such, for example, 
were the 14th and 15th Divisions of the 8th Army 
Corps, and the 5th Brigade of Rifles. The tactics of 
these troops impressed their enemy favourably. Their 
movements were co-ordinated to a degree not previously 
witnessed ; they took advantage of cover with remarkable 
skill, and their steadiness in retreat elicited admiration. 

As to the train of events and considerations which 
led to this flanking movement by the Russians, the 
opinions of Japanese staff officers seem to be tolerably 
unanimous. They take the battle of the Shaho as the 
starting-point of their explanation. Kuropatkin went 
into that battle with twenty-one divisions, and his 
casualties amounted to about 30 per cent. The con- 
clusion forced upon him by the result was that to 
attack with any prospect of success he must wield a 
very much larger force. In that sense he made urgent 
appeal to St. Petersburg, and, in response, fresh troops 
were hurried out, so that many new corps-names began 

' The following accoont of the battle from the Japnnese side w taken 
almost verhatim from a hitherto unpublished account uy The Time* corre* 
spondent at Tokio. 

31 



482 THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAI 

to appear upon the roll of his command : some of these, 
however, were little more than skeletons, and, moreover, 
the reliefs required to fill the decimated ranks of the 
old corps arrived slowly. But matters did not press. 
The Russian general had little anticipation of any 
serious fighting after the beginning of the cold weather, 
and he is said to have believed that Port Arthur would 
certainly hold out until the spring, by which time his 
forces would be tolerably complete and reorganised into 
the three armies vidth which he intended to resume the 
offensive. Meanwhile he expended all available energy 
in fortifying his positions, and the Japanese did the 
same, so that long before the close of the year the lines 
on both sides had become exceedingly strong. For the 
purposes, therefore, of his spring campaign, Kuropatkin 
had to find some opening, and his attention was 
naturally directed to the region between the Hun and 
the Liau. Unoccupied by either army, and yet within 
striking distance of the bases of both, this district 
offered the only vulnerable point. 

To test the opportunities it might offer, Kuropatkin 
launched Mishchenko on his daring raid at the beginning 
of the year, and though this commander achieved 
nothing tangible, he demonstrated that the Japanese 
defences and dispositions in the plains between the two 
rivers were very slight. Kuropatkin is said to have 
intended to utilise this knowledge two months subse- 
quently. But the unexpected happened. Port Arthur 
surrendered at the New Year instead of holding out 
till April, and Kuropatkin then imagined that unless 
he struck forthwith, the numerical preponderance on 
which he based his hopes would be redressed by the 
addition of Nogi's army to Oyama's forces. Further, 
he feared that were his soldiers left inactive to brood 
over the fall of the fortress, their morale would be 
impaired ; and, finally, his country's domestic troubles 
urged him to attempt something conspicuous. So he 
sent out Gripenberg, intending to act with the rest of 
his forces as circumstances might dictate. 



GENERAL GRIPENBERG 483 

His calculation was detective, however, in one 
cardinal respect. He should have known that if the 
tall of Port Arthur at so early a date was unexpected 
by himself, so also was it unexpected by the Japanese, 
and that, consequently, the army investing the fortress 
did not enter into the dispositions made by Oyama in 
the valleys of the Shaho and the Hun. He should 
have known, too, that the enemy had not been waiting 
quietly for three months to be outnumbered, and that 
if reinforcements were reaching Mukden, they were 
also reaching Liauyang, independently of the Port 
Arthur army. 

It may be well to refer here to a misconception 
which has already been circulated from several centres — 
namely, that Gripenberg's turning moveinent would 
have succeeded had not the army released from Port 
Arthur advanced up the west bank of the Hun by 
forced marches so as to threaten the communications 
of the Russian divisions then fighting on the east bank 
of the river. Nothing of the kind occurred ; Nogi's 
army took no part whatever in the battle, nor exercised 
any influence on its issue. As to where Nogi and his 
men now are, the .Japanese military authorities very 
properly maintain silence, but he was not at the Battle 
of Heikautai, and was never intended to be there. 

A second mistake which Japanese strategists lay to 
Kuropatkin's charge is the isolated character of the task 
assigned to G ripen berg. Had he credited his foes with 
the gift of appreciating a military situation he would 
have anticipated that an attack on their lefl would not 
find them so unprepared as to necessitate a large de- 
tachment of force from their centre. Vet unless such 
detachment took place his plan was to remain himself 
on the defensive, and a programme of that half-active, 
half-passive nature could not succeed except by accident. 
Compelled, as he imagined, to strike prematurely, so far 
as his own preparations were concerned, his only chance 
lay in striking with every unit of force he commanded. 

(ieneral Gripenberg no doubt believes that had 



484 THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAT 

Kuropatkin attacked all along the Japanese centre and 
right during January 25 and 26, the final result of the 
battle would have been different. On those two days 
he must have imagined himself very near success. He 
was confronted by only one Japanese division — a reserve 
division— and by a brigade of cavalry. Each Japanese 
army now consists of three divisions, and as there were 
ten divisions at the Shaho, one constituted the general 
reserve. This was the 8th (or Awomori) Division, 
under Lieutenant-General Tatsumi. One of the last 
to leave Japan, it had not joined the forces in the field 
until after the Battle of the Shaho, and conse- 
quently it made it s d^but at Heikautai. The Awomori 
Division was in everybody's mouth three years ago, 
when a whole company of its men perished in the snow 
of Northern Japan. At the time of this tragedy, 
people, speaking partly in jest, said that troops which 
included snow-marches among their manoeuvres must 
be destined to fight against the Russians in Siberia. 
Strangely enough, the division's first battle took place 
against the Russians in a terrible snowstorm, and the 
only officer who had survived the Awomori disaster. 
Captain Kuraishi, fell in the fight. The Awomori 
men made a fine struggle against an overwhelmingly 
superior force of the enemy, but they failed single- 
handed to capture Heikautai, and on the evening of 
the 26th there was imminent danger that they would 
be enveloped by the Russians on both flanks. The 
communications between their centre and right were 
actually severed when the enemy drove a wedge 
between Heikautai and Chenchiehpau. 

From the morning of the 27th the 5th (Hiroshima) 
Division, under Lieutenant-General Kigoshi, entered 
the field of fighting. It had marched from Yentai to 
I^antungkau on the preceding evening. By these two 
di\isions and by the cavalry the battle was fought. 
The Hiroshima troops had orders to support the 
Awomori men for the purpose of re-taking Heikautai 
and of forcing back the Russian wedge at I.iutiaokau. 



THE MARCH IN A SNOWSTORM 485 

They therefore separated into two brigades, one moving 
direct towards Heikautai, the other towards Tatai, 
where the enemy's van was situated. From the start- 
ing-point (Lantungkau) to Tatai the distance is only 
three miles, yet the brigade, leaving the former at eight 
in the forenoon, did not reach the latter till two in the 
afternoon. It may be doubted whether men ever 
marched into battle in such a snowstorm. The down- 
fall had commenced on the 22nd, and on the morning 
of the 24th it was accompanied by a Manchurian gale, 
which lasted without intermission until the 28th, driving 
down the mercury to 20"* below the freezing point. 
The ground was as hard as rock, and every few paces 
taken by man or horse caused such ** balling " that a 
halt was necessary to cut away this encumbrance, and 
the guns, limbers and ammunition waggons are de- 
scribed as having mounted constantly into the air on 
snow-tyres which formed nearly as fast as they could be 
slashed off with swords and bayonets. 

Exhausted by the labours oi advancing under such 
conditions, the troops, when they came within rifle- 
range of the enemy, found themselves on open ground 
affording no shelter whatever, whereas the Russians, 
with quick-firers, machine-guns and rifles, were pouring 
a hail of lead from the cover of Chinese houses. Dark- 
ness came on before anything definite had been accom- 
plished, and the Japanese had now to face the ordeal 
of passing the night in battle order, without shelter of 
any kind, without a spark of fire, while snow fell 
thickly on the already thickly-covered ground, and an icy 
gale blew continuously. To sleep in such conditions 
would have been to die. The night had to be passed 
with men stamping their feet, beating their hands 
together and watching to prevent any one lying down. 
It is said that after such suffering these men were 
irresistible in their rushes to expel the enemy from his 
shelter. By noon they had taken Tatai and Liutiao- 
kau, and two hours later saw them in Likioswopeng, 
so that communication between the parts of the 8th 



486 THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAI 

Division was re-established. The recovery of Heikautai 
followed. 

As for the other two divisions engaged, the Second 
(Sendai) did some defensive work which involved 
casualties totalling only 117 of all ranks, and the Third 
(Nagoya) had but 38 men in action. This little 
detachment, 80 infantry and 8 sappers, achieved a 
remarkable record. They were in a Chinese house at 
Yapatai — about two and a half miles west of Litajentun 
— when a battalion of Russians attacked the place. 
Loopholes not being pierced in the wall encircling the 
enclosure, attempts to fire over it led to the seizure of 
the men's rifles by the enemy. But the sappers had 
prepared dynamite grenades, and when these were 
thrown among the Russians there resulted such 
casualties that the enemy quickly retreated. One 
hundred and two dead bodies and 180 rifles were 
subsequently found outside the wall. Such grenades 
had been commonly used at Port Arthur, but this was 
the first occasion of their employment in the field. 

From this it will be seen that the operations of the 
Japanese troops in the Battle of Heikautai were very 
simple. They sent one division against Heikautai — 
namely, to strike at the centre of the advancing 
Russians — and having divided a second division into 
two brigades, they deployed one of these brigades on 
either flank of the division first engaged. The 8th 
Division had been in action two whole days (25th and 
26th) ; had failed to take Heikautai, though obstinately 
keeping up the assault ; had been forced asunder by the 
enemy at a point between its centre and right ; had lost 
the cavalry screen on its left flank and was threatened 
with envelopment there, when the 5th Division entered 
the field most opportunely. 

The cavalry screen consisted of the same troops 
that had done good work more than three months 
previously in a wholly different part of the field, namely, 
on both banks of the Taitse River near Penhsihu when 
Kuropatkin fought the Battle of the Shaho. They had 



SURGEON HARUJrS ACCOUNT 487 

opposed and helped materially to frustrate the Russian 
general's attempt to turn the right flank of the Japanese, 
and now they rendered similar service on the left flank, 
whither they had been moved some days previously 
in the sequel of Mishchenko's rides down the Liau 
X^'alley. Wukiatsz was the scene of their second exploit, 
and the time was January 25. Greatly outnumbered 
by the enemy's cavalry and with only machine-guns to 
oppose to his 12 field-pieces supplemented by a much 
larger equipment of quick-firers, they nevertheless held 
their ground all through the afternoon, and this checked 
a movement which would have placed many sotnias of 
Cossacks on the rear of the Japanese division attacking 
Heikautai. There can be no doubt that on January 
25 and 26 a situation existed very critical for the 
Japanese. If it be contended that the terrible weather 
impeded the advance of their second line of troops, it 
must also be admitted that the forward movement of 
the Russians was retarded by the same cause, though 
perhaps not in an equal degree, since the Japanese had 
the storm in their faces. Japanese staff officers think 
that Gripenberg s enterprise was in itself well planned, 
but that it laboured under the fatal disadvantage of 
want of co-ordination with Kuropatkin. The forces 
engaged were in the approximate ratio of seven Russians 
to four Japanese. 

The British public have read many accounts of 
Manchurian battles from the pens of British corre- 
spondents. They will probably be interested to hear 
a Japanese description of the cav^alry engagement 
alluded to above given by Surgeon Hasegawa Haruji, 
who served with the Japanese cavalry : — 

Our Brigade of cavah'v, which had been operating originally in 
the vicinity of Sankwaishishan, received orders to move towanls 
Penhsihu at the time of the Russian attack in October. It pixi- 
ceeded thither rapidly, and after repulsing the enemy^s wide 
flanking nmnnevure, had the honour to receive a ATwyo, or docu- 
ment of connnendation. Suljsequently it remained in that distriiJ 
confronting the enemy, Ixit on January 12, when the Russian 



488 THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAI 

cavalry, under General Mishchenko, made its appearance near 
Haicheng and threatened our commissariat line, an order came to 
the Brigade, reaching us on the 13th. Accordingly, on the 15th, 
we left our camp and marched a distance of some seventy-five 
miles, thus passing from the right wing of our army to the left. 
On the 25tn we had a hot engagement at Wukiatsz ; an engage- 
ment so fierce and so sanguinary that the commander-in-chief 
subsequently accorded to it the name of "The Battle of 
Wukiatsz.^ 

Reconnaissances made by us on the preceding day having 
disclosed that a division of the enemy^s cavalry, under Greneral 
Mishchenko, consisting of twenty sotnias and twelve guns, was 
moving southward, a squadron of Colonel Homda's r^ment, to 
which had been entrusted the duty of watching the Wukiatsz 
region, was sent out that night (24th) on outpost duty, and on 
the morning of the 25th, two scouting parties, consisting of a 
squadron each, were also despatched to observe the enemy. At 
11 a.m. an orderly brought word that a force of the enemy'*s 
cavalry, consisting of twenty sotnias with twelve Beld-pieces and 
some machine-guns, was pressing our troopers, and that the latter 
were retiring in close touch with the Cossacks. The Homda 
Regiment at once received orders to advance, and distributing 
themselves along the line of defences at Wukiatsz, the men waitea 
for the enemy. At 12.15 p.m. the Cossacks appeared in a cloud 
on our front At a distance of from 1,500 to 1,600 metres they 
opened rifle fire, but we mcuie no reply until they had approached 
to about half that ranse, when we gave them a volley followed by 
independent firing. Iney evidently suffered heavily, but relying 
on their numbers they pushed on, extending in the direction of 
both flanks with the apparent intention of enveloping us. Just at 
this critical moment our machine-guns arrived, and, taking up 
positions so as to guard our flanks, awaited the enemy's coming. 
Our men judged the distance so well, and shot so accurately, that 
a rain of buDets fell on the Russians. They were compelled to 
retire out of range, but we could see that they received reinforce- 
ments, and that they would advance again. 

At fifty minutes past noon the enemy were observed opening 
out from their centre towardis both flanks. We inferred that their 
artillery was about to come into action and we made our dis- 
positions accordingly. Almost immediately afterwards the thunder 
of the guns was heard. Our men had hardly time to tell each 
other that shells were coming to pay us a visit when the projectiles 
began to burst in our midst. We had only machine-^ns, which 
were useless at such a lange. Thus the enemy's artillery had a 
safe stage all to themselves ; and, contrary to their wont, tliey laid 



SURGEON HARUJrS ACCOUNT 489 

their pieces calmly and accurately, so that every shot took effect. 
Big trees were split, houses were wrecked, stones and tiles flew 
alxjut. Now a shell would slaughter four or five men, scattering 
their bodies in fragments. Anon, one would set a thatched roof 
on fire, and as a strong north wind was blowing, the whole village 
soon burst into flames, the tongues of fire and volumes of smoke 
ascending into the snowstorm. We could scarcely find refuge for 
ourselves, much less for our horses. The Cossacks now sought to 
force their way into our trenches from the flanks. They pushed 
up to about thirty metres, and as our force was insufficient to 
guard the whole position we had an aixluous time, our men being 
obliged to hasten from one menaced point to another. Our 
ammunition now threatened to give out, and when one of our men 
left the shelter of the trenches to obtain a fresh supply, he fell 
riddled with bullets, to be succeeded by another and yet another 
in succession, until, after repeated failures, one at length ^t 
through. It was no time to take thought of death. Major 
Ninagawa fell dead. Captain Kaba, his second-in-command, had 
his leg torn off by a shell. Lieutenant Kawasaki's thigh was 
shattered. Sergeant-Major Nayeda was shot through the neck. 
All around men lay stiff in death or writhing in agony. But every 
sui^-ivor remained calm at his post. For four long hours our 
soldiers stood under this hail of projectiles from gun and rifle. • 
No one showed a sign of quailing. At 4.55 in the afternoon 
the enemy, whether deterred by our endurance, or wearied by our 
obstinacy, or shaken by his own losses, began to retire. In a 
moment a body of our men were on his tracks, while the rest 
made preparations to withdmw from their untenable position. 
T^-ice messengers had reached us from headquarters witn orders 
to retire, as the enemy ''s cavalry and artillery had worked round 
bv the left and severed the communications with our forces on 
tte north bank of the Taitse River; but our commander replied 
that to retire in the face of a greatly superior enemy would be 
fatal, and that he would either die in his place or bring off his men 
in due time. His tenacity was rcwardetl. The men ultimately 
fell back (juietly and in perfect oixler. 

Concerning our wounded, I may explain tliat there were 
originally with this force two surgeons and five men of the field- 
ho^[)ital corps, but one of the surgeons and two of the men had 
Ixtrii summoned elsewhere. Thus I was left with three assistants. 
The latter worked with the utmost zeal and celerity, and were so 
earnestly aided by the soldiers, that when our foree retired not a 
>ini;le wounded man was left to fall into the enemy ^s hands : all 
\*ere safely carried off', to our intense satisfaction. Perhaps it may 
be of interest to add a few words about the handling of our 



490 THE BATTLE OF HEIKAUTAI 

wounded. Acting under ordei's, my assistants and I established 
a temporary hospital in a building southward of Wukiatsz. We 
were about 150 metres in rear of the fighting line, and were 
consequently too close, as well as being in the direction of the 
enemy's guns. We had no choice, however, as this was the only 
suitable building. Our fears were justified, for we found our 
hospital the target of many missiles. One man, just as I raised 
him in my arms for the purpose of dressing his wound, had his 1^ 
shattered by a shell which came through the mud wall of the 
house and grazed my tunic as it passed out. In these circum- 
stances the field-hospital orderlies worked as calmly and as care- 
fully as though no such thing as a battle was going on close at 
hand, and thanks to their courage all the wounded, a great number, 
wei-e duly tended. 

It is said that when men have made up their mind to die they 
act and speak like gods. That day, when the fight was at its 
fiercest and the bullets were falling like rain. Lieutenant Saka- 
moto, who had been sent out toward the right flank on scouting 
duty, found himself pressed by a greatly superior force of the 
enemy and imable either to advance or to retreat. He sent an 
orderly to ask the commanding officer for final instructions. The 
reply was, **Go back and say to the Lieutenant, 'Die.'** The 
orderly, saluting, ixxle oft". What a grand order — ** die," the one 
word "die"! 



CHAPTER XLP 

A YEAR OF WAR 

A YEAR ago the Japanese Minister at St. Petersburg 
broke off relations wth the Russian Government, in- 
forming Count I^amsdorfF that these relations no longer 
g>ssessed any value for Japan, and that the Island 
mpire reserved to herself the right to take such steps 
as might be necessary to protect ner menaced interests. 
By the number of her soldiers, the extent of her 
territory, and the audacity of her statecraft, Russia a 
year ago dominated opinion in two continents, and 
seemed to many to hold the fate of Europe and Asia 
in the hollow of the Imperial hand. There was only 
one opinion in Russia upon the result of the campaign, 
and, England apart, there was only one in Europe. 
Japan would speedily be crushed, her armies and fleets 
scattered to the winds, and peace signed upon the ruins 
of Tokio. So said the Invalid, the official mouthpiece 
of the Ministry of War, and every General Staff in 
Europe save ours, echoing the cry, proclaimed the 
speedy downfall of Japan. 

But England doubted. Better informed upon the 
affairs of the Far East, better able by bitter-sweet 
experience in many distant fields of war to appreciate 
the superhuman difficulties confronting the Russian 
arms, and, finally, unschooled to take their opinions at 
second hand even from the most illustrious of foreign 
soldiers. Englishmen l>elieved in, as they hoped for, the 
success of .lapun. 

' The Time^, February «, 19().5. 
491 



492 A YEAR OF WAR 

A year has passed, and, truly, when we recall the 
Russian vaunts during the early months of last year 
and compare them with this unparalleled record of 
twelve months passed without one ray of glory lighting 
upon the draggled standards of the Tsar, when we 
think of the broken armies, the sunken ships, the 
captured strongholds, the host of prisoners, defeat 
abroad and revolution at home, there is nothing better 
to sum up the record of the year than the words of 
David: How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons 
of war perished 1 

Time was when it was said that the sceptre of 
Catherine would break, if stretched from the Baltic to 
the Gk)lden Horn. If the Russian sceptre, held in the 
firm grasp of that most masculine of Queens, could not 
bear such strain, what hope was there that it could 
reach from the Baltic to the Yellow Sea when balanced 
in the irresolute hand of Nicholas II. ? 

Russia has fought throughout a disastrous war with 
all the old obstinacy and courage that have from time 
immemorial distinguished her arms. Such as the 
Russians were at Poltava, at Zomdorf, at Borodino, 
and at Sevastopol, such were they on the bloodstained 
battlefields of Manchuria. It is not the Russian army 
that has lost caste ; it is the fundamental principles of 
Russian statecraft and government that have been 
covered with obloquy and shame. Tout prendrej rien 
rendrey toVfjours pretendre has been the device of 
Russian statesmanship ever since the halcyon days, long 
past, when Russia was firmly knit with England by 
bonds of mutual amity and confidence. The policy of 
deliberate and shameless aggression has reached its 
inevitable climax in military disaster, while its cost has 
reduced the wretched subjects of the Tsar to a con- 
dition of misery and degradation which leads them to 
welcome death in the streets at the hands of the Tsar s 
Guards as a happy termination of their cheerless and 
unnecessary existence. 

Russia, an American writer has recently declared. 



DANGERS AND DIFFICULTIES 498 

for her many crimes lay under the stern necessity of 
chastisement, and it has been the fate of Japan to wield 
the rod. She has carried out her necessary mission in 
the most effectual manner. Not a ship of the great 
armada, which a year ago lay proudly in the waters 
round the " impregnable " fortress, taken from its 
owners by trickery, remains in being. The waters of 
the Yellow Sea have closed over the shattered 
remnants, and the great Pacific squadron deserves its 
name at last. After a noble resistance, to which every 
soldier must do ample justice, the great fortress which 
stood as the sign and symbol of Russian domination 
over China and Japan has been laid level with the dust. 
A Russian army is, indeed, on Japanese soil, but it is 
guarded by the sentries of the Emperor of Japan. 

If the Russian Government were unable to see the 
dangers and difficulties of the great campaign which 
they had entered upon with so light a heart, Russian 
soldiers at least soon realised them. No great cam- 
paign since the Napoleonic era has ever been waged by 
an army in circumstances of such stupendous difficulty. 
Five thousand miles from the seat of their power, in a 
foreign land and surrounded by an alien population 
passively hostile, if not actually at the ser\'ice of the 
enemy, with the sea closed and all the life of their 
army depending upon a slender artery, the severance or 
choking of which meant strategic death, the Russians 
have fought on with resolution and energy deserving 
of a better fortune and a nobler cause. To all these 
enemies — time, space, and distance — there was added 
the worst enemy of all, the national army of a great 
and populous empire, almost at home, and inspired 
from highest to lowest with unconquerable resolution 
to vanquish or die. 

If Russia, thanks to the extraordinary energy and 
skill displayed in the management of the Trans- 
Siberian, has nearly doubled her power of reinforce- 
ment and supply in the course of the year, and by so 
doing has given us a lesson that we shall only neglect 



494 A YEAR OF WAR 

at the cost of tlie end of our rule in India, she has had 
this gain counterbalanced by the discovery, the tardy 
and unexpected discovery, that since the German 
armies crossed the Rhine in 1870 no such perfect 
machinery for war as that of Japan had been set in 
motion for the imposition of the national will of a great 
Power. 

Japan has far outdistanced the sanguine hopes of her 
most enthusiastic admirers. The grand strategy of her 
campaign has been [)rudent, the leading of the separate 
armies has been satis£Bictory, and that of divisions and 
minor units often brilliant. Japan has thoroughly 
absorbed all that was best and greatest in the splendid 
army of which the Emperor William was the head, 
Bismarck the conscience, and Moltke the soul, and she 
has more than doubled the fighting efficiency of her 
armies by the strength of that moral code which has 
placed country before self, and has educated each 
mdividual soldier of the army in the firm belief that 
death must come before defeat. " All the columns of 
the attacking parties expected annihilation." So writes 
Marshal Oyama in his despatch upon the recent 
fighting, and we only hesitate whether to award the 
palm to soldiers who can perform, or to leaders who 
can command, such unexampled sacrifice for the general 
good. 

If in personal bravery the Russian army has proved 
more than equal to its ancient renown, in every other 
characteristic that renders an army formidable it has 
found itself outmatched. No sane or consecutive ideas 
of strategy have dominated Russian councils, the 
leading of troops has been a century behind the times, 
in marksmanship, gunnery, equipment, and organisation 
the Russian army has been outclassed, while, thanks 
to the superior education of the Japanese people, the 
patient, slow, and faithful mujik from the Russian 
steppes has been outfought at all points, at all seasons, 
and in all ground. 

Worst of all for Russia has been the gloomy dis- 



A WAR OF AGGRESSION 495 

covery of her rulers that the heart of their people is 
not in this war, and that they reck httle of defeat or 
victory, annexation or evacuation, so long only as the 
war ends. This campaign has been the first in which a 
government has endeavoured to wage a distant war of 
aggression, in a cause unpopular to the people, by means 
of the conscript levies of a national army drawn from all 
the strata of a people, whether willing or the reverse. 
The disturbances and massacres at home, the excesses 
among the levies and the reserves, and the total and 
absolute failure at the front under conditions of numbers 
not always unfavourable for success, point a great moral 
and reveal the limitations imposed upon autocrats and 
Parliaments alike in the uses of the national conscript 
army of the modem stamp. For the defence of its 
hearths and homes against unjustifiable aggression such 
an army is practically invincible ; for the prosecution of 
an unjust and unpopular war of distant aggression it is 
inferior in every respect to a volunteer and professional 
army, and the first condition for its employment in such 
war without disappointment abroad and revolution at 
home is unmixed and unqualified victory from first to 
last. When an army which fights because it must is 
opposed to another which fights because it will, when 
those who die for duty oppose those who die for pleasure, 
we have to use a larger divisor month by month to find 
the relative value of the former's numbers. 

If we consider the might of Russia, the important 
character of her alliances and intimacies, and the un- 
expected competence of the Russian railway manage- 
ment, the Japanese record for the year and the outlook 
for the future are alike encouraging. If a second 
Russian fleet draws near to challenge once more for the 
mastery of the narrow seas, its chances of success are 
the reverse of good, while its hesitation to confront the 
test before it bodes ill of its resolution. On land .lapan 
has closed her grasp firmly upon Korea and the Liautung 
Peninsula, covering both by a great army which has 
never yet suffered defeat. Situated where it is, this 



496 A YEAR OF WAR 

army can afford to await the return of a season more 
suited for vigorous campaigning, satisfied for the 
moment if it can hold its own against the nervous 
and uneasy assaults of its brave enemy. With returning 
spring, or even during the course of the present month, 
those fresh legions that have been unaer training in 
Japan will begin to unite with the army of operations, 
and only after their arrival in those overwhelming 
numbers which alone promise annihilating success should 
Japan seek for a great and decisive battle. If the future 
conduct of Japanese operations must entirely depend 
upon the action of the Russian army, and if, as ever is 
and must be the case, the unexpected will be fruitftil 
with many surprises by sea and land, Japan has every 
cause to regard the future without apprehension and to 
anticipate final success in a just cause. 



CHAPTER XLII ' 

THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

Unless diplomacy intervenes, the coming campaign 
promises to exceed in magnitude and to surpass in 
dramatic interest the great events of the past year. 

The broad lines of Russian strategy are not for 
Russia to choose ; they are dictated by the circumstances 
of her situation. To accumulate the largest possible 
land forces, in the most efficient condition and in the 
shortest possible time ; ;to amass stores, supplies, and 
munitions of war in such abundance that nostilijties 
when resunied may proceed without check ; finallv, 
to concentrate every ship that can float and fight m 
order to endeavour to regain the lost command of the 
sea — all these things must necessarily fall within the 
programme of 1905, and whether these forces are then 
employed, so far as Russia has the option, in an attempt 
to overcome the enemy in arms, or m an endeavour to 
overawe him by their menace into the acceptance of 
a peace to which Russia can consent, will depend upon 
the resolutions or the policy of drift which may chance 
to prevail at the Russian capital. 

The main Russian army is still and moi:^ than ever 
numerically formidable. Reduced to some 260,000 
men by the losses incurred in the battle of Heikautai, 
it can rely upon a constant stream of reinforcements 
provided the railway remains efficient and secure. The 
troops now in course of transport are expected to arrive 

' From The Times of February 28 and March 6, liK)5. 

497 32 



498 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

in the following order: — 3rd and 4th Rifle Bri^fades, 
4th Army Corps, a Cossack infantry plastun brigade, 
a Caucasian Cossack cavalry division, and possibly 
the 10th Cavalry Division, while, intermingled witli 
these, there are a number of minor units to which we 
need not for the moment refer. 

When all the above troops have joined the field 
armies the latter will include twelve army corps, six rifle 
brigades, and nine divisions or brigades of mounted 
troops, units which, if and when complete, will more 
than provide the desired number of 500,000 men. But 
at present little more than half these numbers are 
available with the field armies. 

The Russian War Oflice has made the mistake of 
subordinating the despatch of drafts to the transport 
of fresh armjr corps to the seat of war. The result is 
that there will be a steady stream of fresh units up to 
the end of March at least, and that only then can the 
drafts begin to arrive in considerable numbers to make 
good the losses in the regiments that have suffered. 
To the Japanese it is immaterial which course their 
enemy adopts, but for the Russian it would have been 
better to have sent the drafts first, so that the r^ments 
might have incorporated them during the temporary 
lull in the operations. As matters stand the drafts wiU 
not begin to arrive until a little before the period 
assumed for the resumption of active operations. The 
intention is then to make up about 100 battalions and 
to despatch them to the front to make good the losses, 
but it is not a wise measure to swamp regiments with 
a crowd of new men and new officers during the 
progress of critical operations when such a harmful 
measure might have been avoided. 

Given all the conditions, it is unlikely that the 
Russians will desire to recommence the war on a grand 
scale much before the end of April. By that date the 
Russian commander may hope to have 840,000 men 
under his command, and, provided that no great disaster 
occurs, it appears to be unlikely that any other fr^esh 



PRINCE KHILKOFF 499 

units save those named will subsequently be despatched 
eastward, at all events before July, when the drafts to 
make good losses may all have joined their regiments. 

Such numbers as 840,000 men represent a great 
army, greater probably than any living general can 
effectively command, but at the same time it is right 
to recall that a year of unbalanced defeat has necessarily 
diminished the fighting value of the Tsar's soldiers. 
Without underestimating the skill of some Russian 
commanders and the bravery of their men, we cannot 
overlook the events of the past year, nor award to 
Russian numbers the same importance that they 
possessed a year ago. 

The problem of providing the necessary numbers, 
and of tneir supply and maintenance in a proper state 
to wage resolute war, has become much more serious 
than it was a year ago, when the effectives were much 
smaller and the resources of the theatre of operations 
were still intact. It is not likely that General Kuro- 
patkin has, either now or at any time, amassed those 
reserves of military stores and supplies plainly required 
by the circumstances of his situation, nor that he has 
supply depdts, a day's march apart, on his line of retreat 
The country has been swept clear of much that cannot 
be replaced, and, if Mukden falls and supplies from 
China fail, an additional strain will be thrown upon 
the cumbered Trans-Siberian. Prince KhilkofF remaias 
indefatigable and optimistic as ever, but the further 
improvements he has devised upon the line are not 
calculated to come into operation for another six months 
at least. He has ordered 2,400 new trucks capable of 
containing 80 tons apiece, and has in hand 500 new 
locomotives to draw heavier trains, and, when all these 
are delivered in September next and heavier rails are 
laid throughout important sections of the line, he 
guarantees, subject to the concurrence of Japanese 
raiders, the equivalent of 22 trains of the present type 
a day. 

But meanwhile he does not say that the sheds of 



500 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

the great engineering firms in Russia are choked with 
damaged engines and carriages, and that the line itself 
is a constant source of anxiety ; he does not tell us that 
there is a great want of trained hands despite a four- 
fold increase of the personnel and the impoverishment 
of other Russian railways ; nor does he add that, despite 
his circum-Baikal line, traffic across the ice by sledge 
has had to be resumed. Moreover, the strikes at the 
gi^eat centres of industry, the anarchy in outlying 

Sovinces, the utter confusion and inconsequence in 
ussian governing circles, the spread of the revolution- 
ary agitation to the (railway employ^, and, last but not 
least, the tardy awakening of the Japanese to the 
possibility, to which we have <fipequently alluded, of 
action against the Russian line of communications, 
introduce a fresh set of complications, every one of 
which must cause serious disturbance in Russian plans, 
and in combination mav lead the Russian army to the 
brink of the abyss of military disaster. 

The situation of the Russian army is indeed still 
precarious, and nothing that human foresight and 
energy can provide can radically alter the position save 
s, crushing victory. All authorities entitled to respect 
are at one upon this point, and are agreed with M. 
Danchenko, who has just traversed the iline throughout 
its length and states that "the daily trains transporting 
troops and provisions to Mukden are not sufficient for 
the requirements of the situation." Forage and fuel are 
the main difficulties, and the latter is now so hard to 
obtain at the front that it has to be brought fr^om 
Kharbin by train, in itself completely absorbing the 
service of one train every day. It is to make good 
these deficiencies that a whole fleet of steamers has 
been engaged in endeavouring to reach Vladivostok. 
Since the fall of Port Arthur five steamers have reached 
their goal, sixteen have been captured, and several are 
overdue and unreported. The chances are seven to 
two against arrival, though Lloyds, with engaging 
•indifference to the odds, have wagered two to one to 



DALLIANCE OF THE BALTIC FLEET 501 

the contrary, and the Japanese are maintaining effective 
watch upon all three of the channels by which Vladi- 
vostok can be reached. So well has the work been 
done, and so high are insurance premiums in consequence, 
that many sailings have been countermanded and in- 
surances are in progress of cancellation. * 

The out-staying of its welcome in Madagascar by 
the Baltic Fleet is no matter for surprise, and the 
failure of the Russian Government to move on their 
ships at the end of January, as promised, is no strange 
thing, while the delicately hinted suggestion that 
Rozhdestvensky is acting in defiance of instructions 
cannot be entertained for a single moment. Given that 
hostilities on land, on a grana scale, will be renewed 
about the end of April, if the initiative remains with 
Russia, it is probable that the naval effort will be timed 
to correspond, and it is presumably hoped and intended 
that the Third Pacific Squadron, which left Libau on 
February 15, will rejoin tne flag before the passage of 
the Indian Ocean is begun. 

This situation is partly favourable to Russia and 
partly the reverse. On the one hand, thanks to the 
imperfect neutrality and boundless hospitality of France, 
a large Russian squadron interposes between Japan and 
Europe and exercises a certain influence upon the 
despatch of contraband from Europe to the East; 
Japanese naval force is drawn down towards the south, 
and the severity of the guard upon Vladivostok by so 
much, but not very much, lessened. On the other 
hand, this dalHance so far from the theatre of war only 
remotely and indirectly affects the course of operations, 
allows the Japanese navy a long rest for recuperation and 
repair, and enables the Japanese Staff ample time not only 
to amass stores and supplies at the front sufficient to 
meet the possible case of a temporary rupture of sea 
communications, but also grants them a penod of grace 
in which to despatch to their field armies all those 
reserves and new levies which have crowded the barracks 
and camps of Japan during the past three months 



502 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

The Baltic Fleet wavers in its choice between 
heroism and ignominy. It is not to be despised, and 
no serious man in Japan makes the mistake of under- 
rating its menace. But, whatever the fate of the chief 
battleships, their leader is cursed with the escort of a 
great, unwieldy, and vulnerable convoy, and will have 
no freedom of manoeuvre. It is not unlikely that he 
may endeavour to seize or occupy some temporary 
base, place his convoy there in comparative safety, and 
confront the enemy with warships alone untU the 
question of supremacy is decided. Out of all the vast 
armada of seventy or eighty vessels there are only five 
battleships which seriously count. Moreover, the delay 
will reduce the speed of the Russian ships and corre- 
spondingly lessen the chances of victory. The reduction 
in speed, owing to fouling, varies greatly in different 
ships even in the same waters and in the same time, 
but it is certain that it increases at an accelerated rate, 
and that a ship will add double as much fouling during^ 
the last half of a six months' period as during the firet 
half. It is probable that there will be a general 
reduction of 1^ to 2 knots to be made frt>m the 
measured mile speeds of the Russian battleships from 
this cause alone before the day of battle, and that coal 
consumption will also mount up even at economical 
rates of speed. If the special conditions under which 
the naval campaign of 1904 has been fought have not 
hitherto directed our particular attention to this matter, 
it is probable that the impending campaign will under- 
line in a very marked manner the importance of speed 
as a factor in naval war. 

The great superiority of the Japanese in cruisers 
and torpedo craft promises the destruction of the 
Russian convoy ; without their colliers the warships 
must perish of inanition ; the chances are that even a 
successful battle will have results hardly to be distin- 
guished from defeat. Even if a battered remnant 
reaches Vladivostok, and finds that it has still the right 
of the private entree, which is quite uncertain, it will 



THE OPTION FOR RUSSIA 508 

cause a fresh and a heavy strain upon the railway to 
make good naval deficiencies and losses ; the new 
harbour of refuge will be ringed about by Japanese 
territory, and the squadron will be nearly certain 
to have suffered such considerable damage as to be 
out of court for the rest of the campaign. Without 
absolute and unconditional command of the sea the 
Russian cause on land is not greatly advanced. Short 
of this, the recapture of I^iautung and Port Arthur is 
impracticable, the invasion of Korea rather danger than 
profit, and even \ictory on land probably doomed to 
sterility. 

The plan has indeed been suggested that Russia, 
accepting victory as unattainable, should proceed to 
wear out the enemy financially by compelling Japan to 
maintain a large army in Manchuria for years, until, in 
short, she sues for peace. But so long as Japan has 
this army in the field it will require occupation, weather 
permitting, and by reason of this occupation the face 
of military affairs will be liable to very important 
change. As to finance, Japan has made all her plans 
for the year, and her position is assured ; Russia has, 
it is true, submitted a budget to the world in which 
the trifling cost of the war has escaped observation or 
remark, and it may well be that not a soul in Russia 
can really say what the war costs ; but it will certainly 
be found, when the matter is properly examined, that 
Russian expenditure, direct and indirect, due to the 
war, is not a luxury that the Tsar's Empire can pennit 
itself to indulge in for a term of years. 

There is, of course, the apparent option for Russia 
of retreat to the interior. But it is not certain that 
retreat is possible without the destruction of the army. 
Retreat now would entail heavy loss owing to want of 
housing facilities, severity of the weather, deficiency of 
supplies and magazines, and difficulties concerning water 
and forage, even apart from hostile pursuit During 
the second fortnight in March the thaw will be in pro- 
gress, and no great movements will be practicable save 



504 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

by railway, and astride this railway there may be hostile 
raiders. Early in April Niuchwang will reopen for the 
Japanese, ahd when the ground is fit for movement 
the chances are that a numerically superior Japanese 
army will confront the Tsar's troops. Is the Russian 
arm^ sufficiently solid, well led, and mobile to conduct 
a successful retreat under these conditions ? 

Kuropatkin has a strong garrison at Vladirostok 
which abeaxly trembles, remembering that March 6 is 
the anniversary of its fifst bombardment; depdts and 
oth6r garrisons are scattered far and wide over the zone 
in Russian occupation, while the recent and successful 
raid by Japfahese cavalry upon the railway north of 
Mukden and the constant menace of the Huntratzes 
mfake it imperative to rriaintain the defensive guards in 
posiikm* on the hiie, Nearly 150,000 men are thereby 
absorbed upon duties distinct from those relating to 
active war, yet a party of 100 Japanese cavalry has 
already made a first irruption upon the line, and the 
pursuit of this detachment, according to the Russian 
report, discflosed the presence of strong reserves. 

The campadgn thus opens gloomily for the Russian 
cause; discontent, despondency, and disunion are rife 
in the Russian camp, and Kuropatkin's leading, com- 
bined with the still unexhausted consequences of the 
Port Arthur entanglement, have succeeded in combining 
all the disadvantages inherent in offensive atid defensive 
war, while retaining none of the advantages that each 
alternative customarily provides. The note of servile 
flattery in some Russian reports which reach the Tsar, 
and the confident belief in Russian victory still assumed 
and expressed in certain quarters which have no greater 
interest than to see Russia bleed to death, make it a 
matter of grave doubt whether the Emperor of Russia 
realises the facts of the present situation. 

Time was when all the nations of the world as- 
sembled to do honour to the Emperor of Peace. In 
the great hall of the Huis ten Bosch, surrounded by 
the gotgedus allegories of Jordaens, representing the 



ROZHI>ESTVRNSKY'S LAIR 505 

triumphs of a young Prince over vice, sickness, and war, 
the representatives of the nations gave their loyal 
and cordial assistance to further the great and generous 
ambitions of Nicholas II. 

Vanity of vanities ! If only the future could have 
stood revealed and we could have known that in five 
short years all these beatific visions would have vanished 
into thinnest air, and war once more have been pro- 
claimed, by the patron and originator of the Peace 
Conference, the first of Russian industries ! 

If now we turn to the Japanese outlook upon the 
war we cannot fail to observe that the maintenance of 
the security of the maritime communications of Japanese 
armies is an indispensable condition of the final success 
of our ally, and that consequently the defeat of the 
armada which aspires to intercept these communica- 
tions takes the first place in Japanese military interests 
to-day. No victories on land, be they ever so complete, 
can compensate for failure in this first and foremost and 
greatest objective. In whart manner can the desired 
result be best obtained ? Should the navy of Japan 
proceed to seek out and destroy the enemy in his 
distant lurking-place at Ste. Marie de Madagascar? 
Should it go half-way to meet the danger ? Should it 
remain based on its island ports and await the onset 
nearer home ? Serious questions, on the coiTcct answer 
to which much depends. 

If it could be proved, to the complete satisfaction 
of the Japanese Government, that Admiral Togo and 
his brothers in arms can, without doubt, discover 
Rozhdestvensky's lair, attack him there, and destroy 
him before the reinforcements from the Baltic join him ; 
if they could further feel assured that the advantages 
of this course counterbalance the parallel disadvantages, 
there would be nothing better to do than to set out 
with all reasonable diligence. Admiral Togo left Kure 
on February 18 ; two days later the Third Pacific 
Squadron left Libau. Kure is some 1,000 miles nearer 
Nossi B^ than Libau, and, including two days' start. 



506 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

Admiral Togo might reach Madagascar five days before 
the Third Pacific Squadron, given equal speed. In 
practice the Russians are such dawdlers that they would 
probably be out of the hunt. The stroke is not in- 
herently impracticable nor to be ruled out hastily, 
provided no oetter course is open, provided a meeting 
with the enemy can be assured, and provided always 
that the vast preparations required to take a battle fleet 
over a distance of 6,000 miles and to return have been 
duly made. 

But it is scarcely conceivable that such a movement 
should occur without the fact becoming known ; too 
many busybodies flit to and fro on these waters of strife ; 
Rozhdestvensky would not remain inactive when he 
heard that the enemy was afoot, and he might, durin^^ 
the passage of the Indian Ocean by the foe, either faU 
back on his reinforcements or slip round the Japanese 
and emerge triumphantly in the Yellow Sea, carrying 
alarm and confrision into the ranks of Russia's foes. 
The horizon of the smartest cruiser is limited to some 
twenty miles at sea. The sea is wide and the tracks 
across it are unnumbered. Strongly in favour, as we 
all must be, of the ofiensive at sea, pushed to its utter- 
most consequences, the offensive itself must always be 
based upon reason and directed with judgment ; it must 
not be of the character of a stroke of a sword in the air. 

So far as regards France or any other neutral which 
lends its ports and waters to belligerent operations, 
they do this at their own risk and peril. It is a 
Nelsonian dictum that ** it is justifiable to attack any 
vessels in a place from which they make an attack,** 
and no aegis of partial neutrality can be held to cover 
the Russians from attack wherever they may be found 
upon their adventurous voyage. But it is not certain 
that this far-ranging attack is to Japanese advantage, 
nor is it at all clear that the stroke against Rozhdest- 
vensky, even if its success depended solely upon Japan, 
can compensate for the manifest disadvantages entailed 
by the ofler of a fleet action 6,000 miles from a naval 



THREE COURSES 507 

base with all its resources and all its facilities for repair 
after an action. To seek out the Russians off' Mada- 
gascar, with the main Japanese battle fleet, appears 
therefore, on the whole, to offer more risk than profit 
and to leave too much to chance to make it a course 
that we should adopt were we circumstanced as Japan 
is to-day. 

The middle course, tliat is to say, of fighting Russia 
at some point midway between Madagascar and Formosa 
might become necessary in certain circumstances, such 
as a breakdown of Russian warships, or the loss of their 
colliers, but as a deUberate act of Japanese choice it 
offers little attraction. The enemy will be in fiill 
strength, and will choose his own time for arrival. 
Japan is equally without war harbours under the lee of 
her fleet ; there is always the possibility of the evasion 
of the enemy, though in a less degree, and surprise is a 
condition that can never be assured in operations of 
war ; it is not one upon which any man can count, hope 
and work for it as he may. 

There remains the third course, namely, that of 
awaiting the onset until the Russian armada arrives 
in the home waters of Japan. To achieve its purpose 
the armada is compelled to enter these waters, and in 
order to reach Vladivostok, its only base and repairing 
yard in Pacific waters at present organised, it has but a 
restricted choice of routes. There is no special advan- 
tage in sailing half round the world in pursuit of an 
enemy who must, in order to reach his objective, pass 
in front of our own doors. To attack the Russians as 
near as may be to Sasebo offers the greatest advantage 
to the Japanese cause, and to fall on them there with 
every ship that can float and to force a decisive action 
appears to be the wisest course. The aux will l)e to 
decide how near to allow the Russians to approach 
before engaging them, and this point deserves the 
earnest attention of the Japanese S^aval Staff*. 

If, however, this general principle of conduct be 
followed, Japanese ships which suffer in the action may 



508 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

crawl back into friendly ports ; clean ships, supplies, 
ammunition, stores, and the cream of information are 
all at the service of the Japanese admiral near his own 
harbours, while to fight almost within sight of Japanese 
territory will add something even to the valour and 
tenacity of the seamen of our ally. The Russians, cmi 
the other hand, will labour under great disadvanti^es. 
AH their best ships will be no fewCT than six months 
6ut of dock, and by the time contact is joined the 
important advantage of speed should be on the side of 
Japan, greatly enhancing her chance of success in a 
fleet action. These advantages, in our opinion, and 
considering the skilful seamanship of our allies, are so 
grestt that there can be no reaswiable doubt, provided 
that there be no material change in the situation, as to 
trhich of the three courses we have named is the wisest 
for Japan to pursue. 

But if this is true for the main battle fleet, there is 
assuredly nothing to prevent the despatch of fast scouts 
and cruisers in the direction of the enemy, and we 
know, indeed, that this procedure has already found 
favour and that the lines of approach are under guard 
far away to the south. So far back as the end of 
December last certain auxiliary cruisers reached their 
stations and all was in readiness for action. The fiict 
that these scouts freely showed themselves and entered 
Singapore and other harbours without any attempt at 
concealment gives us the clue to the line of thought 
which presides over this enterprise. It should cause no 
surprise if some local successes against these craft 
encourage the Russians to persevere, but the scouts 
will have carried out the most important part of their 
mission when they have located the armada and re- 
ported the direction of its approach. When once that 
duty is performed their prey should be the colliers, 
which should be given a short shrift. 

Our own immediate concern in this affair is to hold 
our Eastern squadrons concentrated and ready, to keep 
a sharp watch upon the points of landing of our cables 



STATESMEN OF JAPAN 509 

ill Eastern seas, and to prevent any tricks being played 
at the moment when the Russians set sail, a responsi- 
bility which devolves upon the Admiralty, and will, we 
assume, not be neglected. The Russians play for high 
stakes, and are not indulgent to neutrals. 

But the actions we have named are not all that the 
cruising squadrons of Japan may aspire to dare. When 
the Spaniards came up the Channel they had an un- 

f>leasant experience, and off Gravelines they led the 
ife of the damned. If the old fireship has passed away 
it has left formidable successors — namely, the submarine, 
the mine, and the torpedo — and there will possibly be 
more play now for the individuality and initiative of 
youn^ officers of the Japanese navy than there ever 
was during the performance of the set pieces at Pont 
Arthur. It is also conceivable that the torpedoes to be 
employed may prove to be more formidable weapons, 
and the crews be better skilled in their use, than during 
the earUer phase of the naval war. 

Turning now to the future of the land campaign, 
we can say broadly that, just as the first year of the 
war afforded us convincing proofs of the mettle of 
the Japanese army, so will the second year give us 
the measure of the Elder Statesmen and Ministers who 
surround and advise the Emperor of Japan. The 
Japanese army we now know, and it is needless to sing 
the praises of troops whose valour and resolution have 
been acclaimed throughout the world. Whether the 
statesmen of Japan are prudent, far-seeing, and re- 
solved, as we have every reason to believe them to be, 
the next few months will gradually disclose. 

Early in the war we ventured to lay stress upon 
certain features of the campaign which had not then, in 
our opinion, received adequate recognition, namely, 
first, the importance for Japan to fight out the cam- 
paign near the sea, and, secondly, the necessity, which 
also lay upon her rulers, to foresee and provide for the 
creation of those reserve field armies which constitute 
one of the most marked distinctions between the old 



510 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

order of armies and the new. The records of the past 
campaign disclose that Japanese statesmen sufficiently 
bore in mind the first desideratum but that they be- 
stowed inadequate recognition upon the second. That 
there was much to excuse this lapse we must all allow, 
since the influence of a single fine of railway upon a 
war of this character and the capacity displayed by the 
Russians in their railway management were not factors 
that had been fully taken into account by any one in 
Japan or elsewhere before the outbreak of hostilities. 
Nevertheless, the tendency in Japan throughout the 
summer and autumn of 1904 was to be somewhat too 
tenacious of first opinions, to allow an insufficient 
margin for safety, to delay the formation of reserve 
field armies, and to overlook the truth of the maxim 
that only numbers can annihilate. To delay the con- 
centration of the largest possible force that can be 
assembled, for the deuvery of a crushing blow at the 
earUest possible moment in a campaign, is not in the 
long run economy, but the reverse. We assume, and 
have substantial grounds for assuming, that this neglect 
has been recognised and made good, but by proof 
alone will history judge, and applaud or condenm, the 
statesmen of Japan in relation to this part of their 
share in the conduct of the war. 

Given that Japan is able with the coming spring to 
place from 400,000 to 500,000 men in the field and to 
maintain them there, what is the plan of her campaign 
that offers her the best chance of success ? The Times 
correspondent at Tokio tells us that there are three 
opinions in Japan ; one holds that the object of the war 
has been already attained, another that Vladivostok 
should be attacked, and a third that a march on 
Kharbin is necessary. 

The objects for which Japan made war were the 
expulsion of the Russians from Manchuria, the freedom 
of Korea and China from Russian domination, and the 
conclusion of a lasting peace based on equal rights for all 
in the trade of the Far Elas-t, and adequate recognition 



JAPAN'S FINAL AIM 511 

of Japan s vital interests. Not one of the three courses 
which seem to find favour in Japan necessarily secures 
these objects, for either one may be adopted and the 
immediate objective gained, but the end still remains 
far off. 

The final aim for Japan is not the research nor the 
choice of geographical objectives, but the imposition of 
peace upon Russia as nearly as may be upon Japanese 
terms. This end is not yet attained, since a large 
Russian army encamps round the tombs of the Manchu 
dynasty and lies within pistol shot of Oyama's troops ; 
it is not attained by the capture of a maritime fortress 
which contains no Russian ships worth troubling about, 
nor does a march on Kharbin necessarily entail the 
desired and final success, and least of all so long as the 
Russian army remains in being. Peace is to be found 
at Kuropatkin s headauarters and in the conning tower 
of Rozhdestvensky s nagship ; there the Japanese must 
seek it, and there alone. 

There are reasonable grounds for the belief that, if 
the Japanese concentrate every rifle they can place in 
the field on the Shaho and in adjacent or even distant 
but decisive positions before their enemy is capable of 
effecting a retreat after the thaw, they can fight and 
hope to win a decisive battle. That is the objective 
ana on land there is no other, for there has never yet 
been discovered a means for concluding honourable 
peace with a resolute enemy save that of making war 
so costly and disastrous to him that he can think of no 
way of continuing the campaign with hope of success. 

It is not improbably true that the Japanese army 
ardently desires to march on Kharbin, and it is also 
certainly the fact that the wishes of an army which has 
done and suffered so much deserve consideration only 
second to that allowed to the interests of Japan. The 
march must be prepared, rails, rolling stock, and 
engineering plant must be ready to hand, magazines 
must be full, and transport massed betimes, while the 
number of horsemen must be largely increased in view 



512 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1«05 

of the possible expansion and the changing character 
of the area of future operations. Thirty thousand 
hard-bitten, fast-riding mounted men, of the type we 
had in the field at 3ie end of our last war, could 
destroy Kuropatkin's army in May, if intelligently 
organised and let loose under young and dashing 
commanders. 

But, while all must be in readiness for a march on 
Kharbin, the advantage Japan has gained from the 
limitation of the area of hostilities to a narrower zone 
near her searbases has given 'her such marked and 
tremtendous leverage upon events that she would be 
wise to make certain that any operations of grande 
envergure she «iay have in <mind are indispensable for 
the -destruction of the Russian aimy, and that they 
really aim at that result and no other. Japan, in short, 
must fix her eyes and concentrate :her attention upon 
Kuropatkin's anxiy to the absolute exclusion of all 
secondary, complementary, or ulterior objects, since 
all the cherries will faU into her lap when the trunk of 
the 'tree is cut through. This task is not light, since 
no one has ever yet encountered, and still less defeated, 
.800,000 Hussians on the field of battle, and we should 
not be sorry to see a little more appreciation in Japan 
of the severity of the ordeail which is now impending. 

Certainly, there are many secondary operations 
which are possible on land as on sea, and they are even 
advisable, provided full provision for the main effort 
has first been made. The attack upon the Russian 
communications is of this .character, and certain acts 
are permissible at Vladivostok of a nature to supplement 
and complete the naval preparations and eventually to 
permit the prosecution of a more considerable enterprise 
in case of need. But a repetition of Port Arthur at 
Vladivostok is needless unless Rozhdestvensky aspires 
to meet the fate that befell his comrades of the First 
Pacific Squadron : in any other event there is nothing 
in Vladivostok worth the bones of a son of Japan. 
Wihat does Japan want with Russian prisoners ? She 



INFLUENCE OF FORTRESSES 518 

has a couple of army corps of them already, and they 
are expensive to keep. It is true that in the event of 
a march on Kharbin it may be advisable to open the 
shorter line of rail to the sea in order to utilise a second 
railway which may be required to maintain a large army 
at Kharbin, and it is obvious that the terminus of this 
line is within the fortress on the Pacific shore. But 
it will be a comparatively simple matter to establish a 
Japanese base in some bay adjacent to Vladivostok, to 
drive eventually the Russian garrison into their works 
and shut them up, and then to construct a deviation of 
the railway avoiding the defended area and joining the 
existing line inland. Vladivostok can be left to starve 
in peace, and whether it holds out or surrenders is a 
matter of no moment. It will serve as a magnet, as 
Port Arthur served, to attract Russian armies and 
fleets, and can be relied on in the same manner to do 
the utmost harm to the Russian cause proportionate 
with its means of defence. 

We have some proof that the detestable influence of 
fortresses is already, or rather once more, exercising a 
preponderating weight upon Russian military plans. 
Here, for example, is a prominent military critic, 
G^eneral Maslofl*, of the Russian General Staff, writing 
that nothing short of irreparable disaster will drive the 
Russians out of Mukden. He says : " The issue will 
remain undecided so long as our army bars the enemy's 
progress. Under cover of this host we can proceed to 
strengthen our position in and around Vladivostok, 
which will become vulnerable the day we fall back upon 
Kharbin. That is why we must hold Mukden at all 
costs." It is not possible more completely to invert the 
rSle of armies and fortresses than by this deliberate 
declaration that the first exist for the benefit and pro- 
tection of the second. If we required any more proof 
that even the most horrible experience is lost upon an 
army that is incapable of reflection, General Masloff 
would have provided it for us. 

It is certain that if these ideas represent Russian 

88 



514 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

intentions, Japan should gain nothing but profit, and 
that she should be able to direct her new armies in such 
manner as to make the great battle round Mukden not 
only decisive but perhaps conclusive. If, on the other 
hand, Japan fritters away her strength upon a siege of 
Vladivostok, excursions upon the Amur, or expeditions 
against Sakhalin, before she has settled affairs with 
Kuropatkin, of what profit will these be to her if the 
main stroke fails ? For our part we may note without 
comment that the Russian estimate of the Japanese 
forces in Manchuria makes the total 884,000, but we 
have not as yet seen any signs that the Russians under- 
stand the new dispositions recently made in Japan, 
or appreciate their significance, their scope, or Uieir 
objective. 

It is clear that all secondary operations must be 
strictly subordinated to success in the main effort, and 
if it is plainly necessary to prepare for the possible 
expansion of the theatre of war, it is also permissible, 
and indeed highly desirable, for political as well as 
military reasons, to endeavour to restrict it to the champs 
clos round Mukden and to compel the Russians to fignt 
to a finish where they stand. Certain hard and even 
unpalatable facts have to be faced and military measures 
devised to accord with them. It is not m Japan's 
power to dictate peace to Russia if that Power desires 
to prolong the war. No country can impose peace, 
on its own terms, upon an enemy until that enemy is 
prostrate with the sword at its throat. Japan can never 
conquer Russia, consequently she can never impose 
terms which Russia's pride forbids her to accept Suni- 
larly Russia, in her opinion, has little hope of ultimate 
victory, and none at all of signing peace as victor at 
Tokio in the manner demanded by the Invalid with 
such astonishing levity at the outbreak of war. Japan 
is invulnerable to Russia's blows, just as we were to 
the blows of Philip of Spain, Louis XIV., and Napoleon, 
and for almost similar reasons. 

From these things it follows that, if peace is desired. 



JAPAN'S ADVANTAGE 515 

recognition of the essential elements of the. general 
situation by both belligerents is the inevitable prelude, 
and that, as it is inevitable, it may as well come soon 
as late. But if peace is not desired by Russia, then 
it becomes advisable for Japan not to occupy one foot 
of ground more than she can defend without undue 
strain, and defend for long, and not to chase will-o'-the 
wisps into the far interior with the underlying, if uncon- 
fessed, thought — Here Russia will make peace. It is 
necessary to consider that this fallacious thought proved 
the perdition of Napoleon and of the finest army that 
ever was assembled for war in modern times, and 
that the fallacy was due to Napoleons inability to 
understand the character of Alexander and to measure 
correctly the fortitude of the Russian people. The 
only safe plan is to govern Japanese strategy by the 
thought that Russia will never make peace ; then, at 
least, there will be no disappointment. 

It may, and indeed it does, seem most unjust that 
the onus of upholding a cause which is that of the 
civilised world stiould devolve upon the gallant people 
of certain small islands in the far Pacific, but thrice 
armed is he whose cause is just, and a similar duty has 
devolved upon us in the past when our population was 
far less numerous than that of Japan and our enemies 
more powerful than hers to-day. Japan, moreover, has 
an advantage we never possessed — namely, a friend 
strong enough to ward off hostile combinations and 
leave her face to face with a single enemy. That, and 
nothing else, has been the true foundation upon which 
all Japan's successes have been built. In order to 
realise her aspirations Japan has to prove to Russia 
that the latter cannot maintain an army in East Asia 
which Japan cannot defeat. When indubitable proof 
has been given of that fact — and some proof has been 
given already — peace is the necessary and logical 
consequence sooner or later. The lasting character of 
such peace has its best assurance in the preservation 
or extension of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance after the 



516 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1905 

war, but if the settlement also secures some valid 
international sanction and guarantee, then so much the 
better for the good relations of all Great Powers and 
the peace of the Far East. 

But if Japan has thus yet to crown her victories 
and to redouble her efforts in order more rapidly and 
effectually to compass her ends, it is also true that 
much of a permanent character has already been 
achieved. Japan has taken her rightful place among 
the nations, and even the greatest and most ambitious 
of military states will think twice before again molesting 
her and stirring up such a nest of hornets. A lon^ era 
of peace for Japan will be the certain reward or her 
great sacrifices, and, truly, no nation will ever more 
richly have deserved it. 



CHAPTER XLIII 

THE BATTLE OF MUKDEN 

In the middle of February, 1905, the Russian forces still 
occupied those positions on the Shaho and round 
Mukden which they had held during the preceding 
five months. Mukden had been transformed into the 
advanced base of operations for the intended march on 
Liauyang ; important reinforcements had arrived, and 
confidence had to a great extent revived. It was said 
at Mukden, as at Liauyang, that " Mukden will be our 
tomb : we will die rather than retreat," and almost 
every single military attach^ and correspondent with 
the Russian army considered the Russian position 
inexpugnable. 

The First Manchurian Army held the sector between 
the Kaotuling defile and PutilofF Hill. General Linie- 
vitchs command included the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 
Siberian Army Corps and the 1st European Army 
Corps, with headquarters at Kandolisan, Koalinzai, 
Kuanshan, and Dadziapou respectively : the head- 
quarters of this army were at Kuanshan. At Tsinkhechen 
there was a detachment under General Alexeieff, 
including a brigade of infantry and a body of Cossacks. 
The front occupied by this army extended for about 
twenty-five miles. On the extreme left at Sinzintin, 
General MaslofF disposed of a brigade of reserve 
battalio